53two has been awarded a life-saving grant as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future.
53two is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.
53two was established in 2016 and since, has become one of Manchester’s most exciting independent arts venues. Set to move into a new, permanent venue in September this year, their plans were halted due to the current pandemic. Nevertheless, they have continued to provide ‘Pay What You Can’ services, training and opportunities throughout the lockdown, ensuring that creatives were able to feel connected to the arts whatever their situation.
Since March, 53two have struggled to stay afloat and were concerned about their imminent move to a new home in Manchester city centre. Whereas money for the capital build was secure, this grant has allowed them to survive and grow as a company, providing not just affordable, professional services, but also to ensure they can launch projects to commission writers, producers, stage-managers, technicians, designers etc from across the ten Greater Manchester boroughs, creating not just new work but new opportunities for those that might not usually have them.
53two will also help creatives from diverse backgrounds express their creativity and launch their careers with much-needed, paid work. This level of work will enable them to open the doors to their new premises in 2021 and provide a fully accessible ‘arts hub’ with equality, diversity and opportunity at it’s heart.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.
“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”
Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”
53two Artistic Director, Simon Naylor, said: “The past few months have been a difficult time for all within ‘The Arts’ representing just one of the hardest hit sectors. There is still a long way to go but this grant will not only ensure our survival, but will enable us to fully commit to our promise of growing and diversifying the company whilst continuing to provide essential training, professional services for creatives and exceptional productions both online and in our new home.”