Marine Theatre receives £50,000 in government support

THE Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis has received a lifeline of £50,000, as the government announced its second round of the Culture Recovery Fund.

Comedy clubs, circuses, festivals, regional theatres and local museums are among 588 arts and culture organisations across England to receive a share of £76million in essential support in the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund.

This include £490,000 of funding to protect five “cultural gems” in Dorset.

The biggest cash winner in Dorset was CB Brasserie in Bournemouth with £249,442.

Also successful were Portland Museum (£71,050), Cape Farewell in Sydling St Nicholas (£67,391), Bridport Electric Palace (£50,000) and Lymearts Community Trust Ltd, which runs the Marine Theatre, receiving £50,000.

The funding will enable socially-distanced performances to restart where safe to do so, venues to plan for reopening, protect jobs and create opportunities for freelancers.

The Marine Theatre has remained largely closed since March. It has successfully been experimenting with some outdoor, distanced and online events but is is not expected to fully reopen until 2021.

It is currently running an online fundraising campaign to help it through the pandemic and ensure it can reopen – you can donate online at

Marine Theatre director Gabby Rabbitts said: “We are so pleased and relieved. Alongside savings, fundraising, and support from our volunteers, this will help us leap eagerly from the pandemic to provide the whole community with enjoyment, at a time when we need culture more than ever.”

This autumn, audiences can expect a screening of Checkov’s Uncle Vanya starring Toby Jones and a new film about artist Frida Kahlo.

Tickets will also go on sale soon for a newly created stage performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’.

All events have been popular with audiences, who were put at ease by safety measures such as reduced audience sizes and increased cleaning.

A long awaited full reopening of the theatre is hoped to be held in spring 2021, with plans for a special series of events to welcome the community back.

As well as launching its online fundraising appeal, the venue has worked hard to cut costs.

Dressing rooms have been upgraded during the lockdown, using money specially earmarked from the Coastal Revival Fund and Sir Ian McKellen’s performance, which celebrated the Marine’s 125 year anniversary last year.

This latest round of government funding follows the announcement on Monday that 14 organisations in Dorset were being given £3.6million in the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund.

Lyme Regis Museum was one of the organisations to receive funding in the first round, with a £60,000 grant.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back.

“Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time.

“Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.

“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

Organisations have been awarded grants under £1million in the first two rounds of funding this week.

Further details of grant awards of up to £3million and £270million in repayable cultural finance will follow in the coming days and weeks.

The Culture Recovery Fund builds on more than £200billion of support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, more than £13.5billion through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and £100billion of tax cuts, tax deferral, direct grants and government-backed loans.

Woodmead Halls

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