Wiltshire Creative has been awarded £446,000 as part of the government’s Culture Recovery Fund to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
The grant will contribute towards the organisation’s running costs until the end of March 2021. Every year Wiltshire Creative entertains thousands of people at its venues, Salisbury Playhouse and Salisbury Arts Centre and through its annual festival – Salisbury International Arts Festival. It also reaches thousands of more people, including many vulnerable groups, through its Take Part programme of workshops, classes and youth theatre activities each year.
Wiltshire Creative closed both its venues in mid-March and cancelled this year’s Salisbury International Arts Festival. It was also obliged to cancel this year’s Christmas pantomime which would not have been viable in a socially distanced auditorium.
Wiltshire Creative Executive Director Sebastian Warrack and Artistic Director Gareth Machin said, “We are absolutely delighted that our application to the Culture Recovery Fund has been successful. This will enable Wiltshire Creative to plan with greater confidence, to ensure our organisation is Covid safe and to be open, welcoming back and serving our community.”
Salisbury Playhouse re-opens to the general public this week for the first time in more than six months.
The theatre is staging special performances of a one-man show ELTON JOHN: IT’S A LITTLE BIT FUNNY in a transformed auditorium. They are also pushing forward with an autumn season of comedy, dance, music and theatre and have announced a small-scale Christmas production, LITTLE ROBIN REDBREAST, staged in the Main House of Salisbury Playhouse.
Wiltshire Creative External Relations Director Helen Taylor said, “The whole team has been working really hard to make sure that our audiences can return to enjoying performances and screenings safely and our social distancing adjustments now allow for lots of legroom and tables for refreshments, designed by our workshop team. Some have likened it to a first-class upgrade!”
The capacity of Salisbury Playhouse’s main auditorium has been reduced from 512 to 148, with audiences sitting in their bubbles of no more than six and some rows completely removed. However, this is not a sustainable long-term solution to reopening.