Lowry and Opera North share in 18m recovery fund handouts

The Lowry - potentially life-saving grant

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Paul Genty

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Both companies will use the money to help get programmes back on track

Opera North and Salford’s Lowry theatres and galleries complex are among eight big-name arts and cultural organisations to receive money from the government’s Emergency Recovery Fund.

The Lowry will get £3 million to cover continuing costs suffered during the pandemic, and Opera North £2 million, which will be used to run its Switch On programme of online performances and educational activity.

The money is from the second set of grants of £1m-£3m from the overall £1.57bn fund. The first group of lager-scale funds was handed out in October.

Lowry chief executive Julia Fawcett said her institution has lost 93 per cent of its income – around £12m – and there was “very real threat” of permanent closure. Rather than making staff redundant – a reluctant step taken by many other large theatres – the Lowry even offered to make up staff wages where the government’s furlough scheme fell short. 

She said the money would allow the complex to start rebuilding its artistic and engagement programmes, while Opera North boss Richard Mantle said the money would support the future financial resilience of the company.

Sheffield City Trust, which owns and manages entertainment and sports venues in the city, has received £2.24 million.

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