By Rachael Grealish
The future of the arts in West Cumbria is brighter as one theatre has been awarded £100,000.
Rosehill Theatre, in Whitehaven, has received a grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation’s Culture Fund.
The grant is for a year-long creative participatory programme to deepen relationships with the theatre and its community, support connection and wellbeing during these challenging times, and build on the theatre’s early programme of car park activity.
In a post on the theatre’s social media site it said: “Great thanks to Garfield Weston Foundation’s #WestonCultureFund for our £100,000 grant… We’re so excited and look forward to getting stuck in.”
Great thanks to @WestonFdn #WestonCultureFund for our £100,000 grant for a year-long creative participatory programme to deepen relationships with our community, build on our early programme of car park performances and support connection & wellbeing in these challenging times https://t.co/qNc99SWOcn
— Rosehill (@Rosehilltheatre) February 1, 2021
It will enable Rosehill to purchase equipment to relay performances outside, allowing more people to attend in a COVID-safe way and creating a new form of audience engagement.
Rosehill is one of more than 100 arts organisations across the UK to have been successful in their bid for a share of the new one-off fund, which was set up by the Weston family to support the cultural sector in response to the devastating impact of COVID-19.
Grants ranging from £100,000 to £1.5m have been awarded to a diverse range of organisations, from museums to regional theatres and to national touring ballet companies.
The foundation’s trustees decided to increase the fund to over £30m after seeing the level of creativity and determination from arts organisations who have been hit by the pandemic and are fighting hard to ‘keep the lights on’.
Philippa Charles, Garfield Weston Foundation’s director, said: “Our cultural sector is at the heart of our local communities providing not only entertainment but education and inspiration for many.
“Our trustees were impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit shown across the arts in response to Covid-19 and it was a privilege to hear what organisations had been doing to not only survive but also to reinvent the way they reach audiences.
“What really stood out was the level of collaboration and support they had for each other and the determination to keep going, despite the increasingly difficult situation. We all want and need our cultural sector to thrive and, if anything, our time away from the arts has shown just how important they are to us – bringing much-needed pleasure and enrichment to our lives.
“Arts organisations are desperate to reopen and get back to what they do best and we hope that this new funding will help many of them do exactly that.”
In line with current pandemic restrictions, Rosehill remains closed, however, thanks to the support of the Weston Culture Fund, work on its participatory project can begin in earnest.