The Orchard Theatre has received a total of £244,576 in grant funding from the Department of Media, Culture & Sport’s (DCMS) £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund.

The fund, which was set up and announced by the government in July, makes urgent support available for cultural organisations that were financially stable before the COVID-19 pandemic.  Money has been provided from central government via the DCMS – and the fund was administered by Arts Council England. 

A total of 1385 organisations around the UK will benefit from grant awards announced today. 

In line with other venues and cultural buildings The Orchard Theatre has remained closed since March as a result of government restrictions imposed to protect public health.  Performances at The Orchard Theatre are suspended through January 31st 2021, although opportunities to re-open parts of the building or to plan socially distant performances are being kept under review. 

Whilst socially distanced performances are now permitted under current guidelines most theatres, concert halls and live entertainment venues are finding it impossible to reopen whilst social-distancing restrictions remain in place. 

Lorna Strawson, Theatre Director at The Orchard Theatre said:

“We’re delighted to receive this funding which will play a vital role in supporting the venue through this very difficult period.

The money provided today will help us to meet the costs of maintaining the building through the closure period; will stabilise our position at a time when no trading income is available to us; and will help to support our dedicated and skilled team.

We are grateful that the DCMS has recognised the important contribution we make; and would also like to thank our local authority partners who have been helpful and supportive throughout.

Like all cultural venues, we believe we have an important role to play in supporting the wider recovery.  The economic impact of our usual activities stretches far and wide; sustaining businesses across the local area.

Crucially, this money is provided to assist us through to reopening when the situation improves – and we can’t wait to be able to welcome back our wonderful audiences when we are able to do so.”

Jeremy Kite, Leader of Dartford Borough Council said:

“The Orchard asked for our support in its bid to Government and of course we were delighted to offer it unconditionally. The arts and culture are not a luxury as we emerge from COVID. They will be a core part of re-establishing Britain’s economy and cultural reputation. I’m delighted to hear this news.”