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North East arts venues ‘haemorrhaging money’ get Covid recovery funding

Inside Sage GatesheadIMAGE COPYRIGHTSIMON BURGON
image captionThe Sage Gateshead was facing a £10m funding gap

Emergency Covid funding will enable a venue which has “haemorrhaged money” to survive, its chairman has said.

Sage Gateshead has received a £3m loan in the government’s latest round of Culture Recovery Fund allocations.

Chairman Martin Narey said it would “allow us to take Sage Gateshead and the Royal Northern Sinfonia to new heights”.

Money has also been given to Darlington Hippodrome, Bamburgh Castle and South Shields Customs House.

The Hippodrome’s £499,304 grant will allow it to offset losses from cancelled productions, retain jobs and buy new cinema screening equipment.

Director of programming and development Heather Tarran-Jones said they were “delighted”.

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The Customs HouseIMAGE COPYRIGHTTHE CUSTOMS HOUSE
image captionAs a charity the Customs House reinvests profits into education projects and nurturing creative talent

“We are coming to the end of a difficult journey and this funding will assist in the transition back to a sustainable business model,” Ms Tarran-Jones said.

“However, what we really need is the return of our fantastic audiences purchasing tickets to future shows to breathe life and energy back into the Hippodrome.”

Customs House Fellow and Little Mix star Jade Thirlwell said its £125,000 grant would help secure the venue’s future.

“It’s so important for South Tyneside and it’s wonderful to see our arts centres being able to work towards opening again,” she said.

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Comedian and presenter Chris Ramsey said he looked forward to performing live to full houses soon.

“We all need theatre in our life,” he said.

The money is the latest to be awarded from the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund announced last July.

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A further £300m, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his budget speech, is yet to be allocated.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the fund would help culture and heritage organisations “survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced”.

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