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Hunstanton's Princess Theatre included on list to benefit from government's Culture Recovery Fund

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Bosses at a seaside town's theatre will meet next week to discuss how they will spend a grant of more than £80,000 from the government.

The Princess Theatre in Hunstanton is amongst the arts and culture hubs across the nation which will benefit from a share of a £1.57 billion government project to ensure they can survive.

A total of £82,819 will be provided to the theatre, which resumed its cinema screenings on July 14 with social distancing measures in place after the coronavirus lockdown closure.

Hunstanton's Princess Theatre
Hunstanton's Princess Theatre

Proprietor Brian Hallard welcomed the grant and said it is something he "had been sitting on" for two weeks.

Mr Hallard said: "It means that everything we have done and put in place will carry on. The theatre is the heart of the town and it can keep beating now for the foreseeable future.

"We have had shows every Saturday night and we have got our pantomime booked in before the rest of the country decided what to do."

Princess Theatre staff celebrate being a recipient of government funding. Proprietor Brian Hallard is pictured in the centre. Picture: SUBMITTED
Princess Theatre staff celebrate being a recipient of government funding. Proprietor Brian Hallard is pictured in the centre. Picture: SUBMITTED

There have been two redundancies to box office staff at the Princess Theatre due to the pandemic, but Mr Hallard said the rest of the staff have been supported, and will be able to keep the venue up and running.

Other theatres included on the funding list within Norfolk include the Norwich Puppet Theatre, Sheringham Little Theatre and the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth.

Mr Hallard added: "It is good news because these are all privately funded theatres which are not supported by the rate payer. We have to do everything on our own and it has been a 10-year struggle for me.

"It was a blank canvas to build it into what it is now. My fear was that all those years of work would be taken away."

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "The government is here for culture and we have worked around the clock to get this record investment out to the frontline.

"It will allow our wonderful theatres, museums, music venues and cultural organisations to survive this crisis and start putting on performances again - protecting jobs and creating new work for freelancers.

"This is just the start - with hundreds of millions pounds more on the way for cultural organisations of all sizes that still need our help."

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 is a difficult time for us all, but this first round of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund will help sustain hundreds of cultural spaces and organisations that are loved and admired by local communities and international audiences.

"Further funding will be announced later in the month and we are working hard to support creative organisations and individuals during these challenging times."

The Princess Theatre has scheduled a two-week run of Mother Goose as its pantomime this year from December 19 to January 1.

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