King's Lynn Corn Exchange given emergency Coronavirus funding boost
Lynn's biggest arts venue has been given almost £250,000 of emergency funding to help it cope with the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The town's Corn Exchange is among the latest West Norfolk attractions to receive a share of a £1.57 billion package from the Government intended to help the arts survive the pandemic.
And officials say details of several new events at the Tuesday Market Place venue will be announced soon.
The Corn Exchange is among nearly 1,400 sites nationally which are sharing a total of £257 million in emergency funding, administered by Arts Council England.
The venue, which has been given a total of £247,690, was forced to close in March, as the UK went into lockdown, and only re-opened last month.
West Norfolk Council leader Brian Long, who also chairs Alive West Norfolk – the body which runs the Corn Exchange – said this morning: “I’m delighted to hear about this funding. It supports an important venue in the town.
“This grant should help Alive Corn Exchange through the pandemic and I look forward to it continuing to be a cultural asset to King’s Lynn for many years to come.”
The announcement also comes after councillors were told that extra screenings have taken place in the building's new cinema in order to meet public demand.
Work to install two screens, each with seating capacity for just over 50 people, was completed during the lockdown period.
Although both screens can only accommodate around 20 people at the moment because of social distancing rules, Thursday's West Norfolk Council meeting was told around 400 people had seen films there in the first two weeks of opening.
The council's deputy leader, Elizabeth Nockolds, added: "It's been so positive that there have been two films that have had extra screenings."
Like many venues, the Corn Exchange would normally be preparing for its busiest period of the year with the staging of its annual pantomime.
But this year's scheduled production of Beauty And The Beast was postponed until 2021 last month because of the continuing health threat posed by Covid-19.
At that stage, Alive West Norfolk said it was working on plans for an alternative programme and it now says details of several events will be announced over the next few days via the Corn Exchange's website, kingslynncornexchange.co.uk.
The latest round of grants also includes the allocation of £156,000 to the Westacre Theatre and just over £60,000 to Collusion, the Cambridge-based company which is working with West Norfolk Council on a forthcoming series of light shows at prominent sites in Lynn.
Sir Nicholas Serota, chairman of Arts Council England, 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.”