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UK helps nearly 1,400 arts groups survive virus

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Posted at 11:37 AM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 11:37:26-04

LONDON (AP) — The British government is giving 257 million pounds ($335 million) to help almost 1,400 arts and cultural organizations survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The money announced Monday is the first chunk of a Culture Recovery Fund totalling 1.57 billion pounds in all.

Recipients include major organizations such as the London Symphony Orchestra, which received 846,000 pounds, and tiny venues such as London’s 50-seat Finborough Theatre, which got just under 60,000 pounds. Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where The Beatles shot to fame, received a grant of 525,000 pounds.

Britain’s museums, galleries, theaters and music venues all closed when the country went into lockdown in March. Some have managed to reopen, with reduced capacity and at a financial loss, but coronavirus restrictions make most live performances impossible.

Many arts workers also have not been supported by government job-retention programs because they are freelancers.

Julian Bird, chief executive of umbrella body U.K. Theatre, said the news was “warmly welcomed, and will help create work and retain jobs.”