Perhaps I am being overly cynical—who, moi?—but when a DCMS press release can be summarised in three bullet points and the third one resorts to "Funding welcomed by celebrities including Dame Judi Dench …", flashing lights go off warning that I am in for some guff.
The other sign is that it is more than 2,000 words long, which makes me think that they doth protest too much, with no fewer than sixteen orchestrated quotes from across arts disciplines / aforementioned celebs and of course new culture secretary Nadine Dorries.
That’s a lot of weasel words, but those are not the words or figures that really matter.
Funding under CRF 3 Emergency Resource Support comes to £6.2 million, of which three organisations receive more than half a million each (concert promoters Giles Cooper Entertainment Ltd £537,000, theatre production company Jamie Wilson Productions Limited £1m, and stage fabric and engineering specialists J&C Joel Ltd £850,000).
Eight organisations receive amounts ranging from £380,000 down to £123,853, with four receiving the lowest awards of £25,000 (CircusWorks, Ardent Theatre Company, Owen White Management Ltd and LP Creatives).
Of the fifty-four companies to receive funding under this scheme, thirteen are categorised as Theatre, but this is deceptive as Combined Arts and Not Discipline Specific could cover theatre in some way.
This CRF 3 round of funding also has a new grant scheme, Continuity Support. This sees 819 organisations, who have already received some earlier funding, share £93,310,052.
The Theatre category has 230 recipients (same caveat as above) and £30m, with awards ranging from £11,462 for company 1927 to Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre and Leeds Grand Theatre & Opera House getting £1m and £1.28m respectively.
The press release rather over-eggs the festive pudding for my taste saying, "theatres across the country will receive over £30 million in vital continuity support so they can keep their doors open and welcome audiences to pantos and plays this Christmas." Anyone who knows anything about panto or theatre will know that saving Christmas shows started much, much earlier in the year and no Grinch can come along in November and take the credit. Or maybe they are talking about Christmas 2022…
And maybe I am being a bit of a grouch. I am four mince pies in (not all at once) and I am not yet feeling the Christmas spirit, goodwill to all and so on. No matter. For sure, a lot of theatre practitioners will rest easier and have a happier festive season knowing they are on Santa's nice list.