WILTSHIRE Creative, which runs Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury Arts Centre and Salisbury International Arts Festival, 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. In a joint statement, 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.”
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 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.
Salisbury Playhouse re-opens to the general public this week for the first time in more than six months, with small-scale productions in a reconfigured auditorium. The autumn season includes comedy, dance, music and theatre and there will be a Christmas family Show, Little Robin Redbreast.
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. It will not be possible to mount larger scale productions in a post-Covid world without adequate insurance cover in the event of lockdowns.
For more information and to book autumn events visit www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk.
Pictured: The interior of Salisbury Arts Centre in the former St Edmunds Church.