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Lifeline for the Arts

IT’S what you could say has been a case of ‘slow burn’ but there is no doubt that Showtime! with John Phillpott is gaining in popularity among fans of live entertainment.

For example, I was very pleased with the number of hits I got for my review of Worcester Musical Theatre Company’s fabulous production of Happy Together, which ran for several block-busting evening and matinee shows earlier this month.

This was by far the best success so far and I’m really grateful for those people who visited my site. Even better, I’m not asking you for any money, either – what’s not to like?

This all goes to show that there is a huge appetite for live shows right across Worcestershire, and in particular in the county town. Yes, yes, I know Worcester’s actually a city.

Best of all, Worcester Musical Theatre Company will soon be hard at work on next year’s offering. And that’s why I’m wishing the very best of luck to all the people – performers, stage crew, front-of-house and so on - who are part of something that is rapidly becoming a much loved and wonderful Worcester institution.

Covid may not have gone away, but there are still plenty of what you might call the green shoots of recovery appearing in the world of entertainment.

Take this one for example – perhaps not so much a green shoot, rather a sturdy sapling.

Worcester Theatres is to receive a £122,000 windfall from third round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. The organisation was among 925 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards.

More than £100 million has been awarded to hundreds of cultural organisations across the country, including Worcester Theatres in the latest round of support, the Culture Secretary has announced.

The third round of funding will support organisations from all corners of the sector as they deal with ongoing reopening challenges, ensuring they can thrive in better times ahead.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Culture is for everyone and should therefore be accessible to everyone, no matter who they are, and where they’re from.

“Through unprecedented government financial support, the Culture Recovery Fund is supporting arts and cultural organisations so they can continue to bring culture to communities the length and breadth of the country, supporting jobs, boosting local economies and inspiring people.”

More than £1.2 billion has already been awarded, supporting around 5,000 individual organisations and sites across the country, ranging from local museums to West End theatres, grassroots music venues to festivals, and organisations in the cultural and heritage sector.

Sarah-Jane Morgan, Chief Executive, Worcester Theatres said: “I'm absolutely delighted that Worcester Theatres have been successful in the third round of the Cultural Recovery Funding.

“This funding will be instrumental as we continue to navigate our way around the challenges we have faced throughout the pandemic. It’s an encouraging boost to be supported consistently throughout the three rounds, and it allows the organisation to continue our work in developing a strong arts programme within the heart of Worcester.

Now, I have in the past been critical of what I perceived to be the Government dragging its feet over support for the Arts. When the pandemic struck a year last March, there seemed to be endless support for the equally-hit sports sector, yet very little for the Arts.

My argument was that, taking into account that fact that live entertainment is the single biggest facilitator of ‘footfall’ in regional economies, more should have been done and sooner. But better late than never, so I guess it’s a case of credit where it’s due.

But

one thing is certain. And that’s if theatres are to survive, then so will theatre companies, both professional and amateur.

Let’s face, the alternative is does not bear thinking about. Could you imagine what life would be like if there weren’t groups like Worcester Musical Theatre Company to keep us all entertained?

I’m pretty sure you know the answer to that one…

Pictured: Worcester Musical Theatre Company members are putting their best feet forward in more ways than one.



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