THE SHAKESPEARE Birthplace Trust (SBT) has secured a multi-million pound lifeline in the fight against coronavirus.
The charity which cares for the Bard’s heritage in and around Stratford, has been awarded £3million as part of the government’s £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).
The grant aims to protect cultural and creative organisations from the economic impacts of the pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future.
SBT is one of 35 major cultural organisations receiving the first grants through the CRF – with an initial £75million of investment announced by culture secretary Oliver Dowden.
The grant is a welcome support for SBT, and will sustain its work over the winter months through until March.
Although Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust is welcoming tourists, the pandemic has forced the closure of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, New Place, Mary Arden’s Farm and Hall’s Croft will until at least next spring.
The funding will enable the continued opening of Shakespeare’s Birthplace as part of the SBT’s mission to promote Shakespeare’s legacy, and support the regional tourism economy.
It will also help the SBT deliver its charitable objectives to conserve and maintain Shakespeare’s heritage in his home town, and introduce new digital and learning initiatives.
Tim Cooke, SBT chief executive, said: “This award is a great encouragement for the work of sharing Shakespeare, for the town of Stratford and for the whole region.
“We have been so badly hit by the financial impact of the pandemic, so this investment is vital and enormously welcome at this critical time. Shakespeare’s works and heritage are central pillars of our cultural fabric.
“Shakespeare’s own story and his timeless works are amongst the most powerful and profound avenues for exploring ourselves and our experiences in the world – all the more important in such times of crisis and uncertainty.
“It is essential we protect and promote his enthralling story in Stratford-upon-Avon on behalf of our nation and the whole global community.”
Peter Knott, area director of Arts Council England welcomed the grants.
He said: “The museums and historic buildings are cornerstones of Warwickshire’s cultural offer and this grant will offer them some short-term security and the opportunity to plan for the future. Holding the world’s largest Shakespeare-related library, museum and archives and bringing thousands of children together each year as part of Shakespeare Week, the trust protects the places Shakespeare lived, worked and grew up across the region, to inspire future generations.
“The government’s package is hugely welcome, providing much of the sector with resources to remain in business through to the spring.”