Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud warns "still many challenges for theatres to overcome"

Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre has welcomed the government’s emergency funding package for the arts.
Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud TheatreGuildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Along with hundreds of venues up and down the country, the Yvonne Arnaud has been closed for months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Joanna Read, director and chief executive of the Yvonne Arnaud, said: “We are delighted that the government has made such a strong commitment to supporting our arts, cultural and heritage organisations with the £1.57 billion rescue package.

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“In creating this package, the government has recognised the vital contribution the arts make to the country, creatively, socially and economically and sought to protect them. While it is too early for us to comment on the detail of the support, and how it will impact the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre specifically, there is no doubt that this is an extremely positive step in securing the future of our industry, and hopefully our venue, for the future.

“The Yvonne Arnaud is planning for the future, exploring what socially-distanced theatre will mean to our audiences, artists and staff. As a charity we receive a grant from Guildford Borough Council, but the majority of our income is from ticket sales. Our capacity is 586 seats; if we have to socially distance audience members then our productions are not financially viable. That, plus the risk of local lockdowns and being able to provide social distancing on and off stage, mean there are still many challenges for theatres to overcome.”

Joanna added: “The rescue package from the government is an extremely positive endorsement of the value of theatre to the whole of the UK and much needed in this unprecedented time. We have been running the theatre on a shoestring from our kitchens and sitting rooms over the recent months, and we are desperate to get back to doing what we do best – providing great theatre for our audiences. This package of support is a huge positive step in the right direction. I hope that the Arnaud will be a beneficiary of this help.”

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