The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, has been awarded a £248,391 slice of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).  The county, as a whole, received almost £4m of funding; shared between 12 arts and culture organisations.

Picture credit: Elizabeth Ann Smith – Roses Theatre, Tewksbury

The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden recently released these awards as part of the first round of the CRF grants programme; administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

He said: ‘This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

‘These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.’

The Roses Theatre is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support.  It is a community-led arts centre in Tewkesbury with an eclectic programme of live events, participatory activities, exhibitions and festivals.

Picture credit: Elizabeth Ann Smith – Rachel McGarvey, library assistant

Library assistant, Rachel McGarvey, 51, who works next door in Tewkesbury library commented on the theatre’s closure due to Covid:

Its been so sad because they were literally the first place that I can think in Tewkesbury that shut its doors; so they have been shut first and opening last – and it must have been really hard for everyone involved

The Roses first opened in 1974 and has a renowned independent and alternative film programme, a vibrant live and theatre programme, and a rich history that infamously includes Eric Morecambe’s final appearance.

Elizabeth Ann Smith asked Rachel McGarvey what the local feeling was about the Roses Theatre

The theatre was built to provide a cultural heart for Tewkesbury, it boasts a beautiful 370 seat auditorium. An extension in 2015 expanded the venue’s front of house space and created a new bar and coffee shop. The Roses is the cultural heart of Tewkesbury and the surrounding areas, and as such is a valuable – and valued – community resource.

Its director, Jessica Brewster, said: ‘While we have a long road of recovery ahead, this funding is vital to the survival of The Roses after the devastating impact of Covid19 on us and everyone in the arts industry. The money will support the theatre in staging a Covid-secure Christmas show and enable us to pay ongoing venue costs until March 2021’.

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