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Future looking ‘a little brighter’ for venue after ‘traumatic few months’

PUBLISHED: 11:49 20 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:50 20 October 2020

The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft. Inset: Emma Butler Smith. Picture: Mick Howes/Marina Theatre

The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft. Inset: Emma Butler Smith. Picture: Mick Howes/Marina Theatre

Mick Howes/Marina Theatre

Management at a coastal theatre have admitted that receiving a lifeline government grant has given them a “fighting chance” amid the continuing coronavirus crisis.

The Marina Theatre Trust in Lowestoft was one of 21 organisations in Waveney, Norfolk and Suffolk to have received a culture recovery grant from The Arts Council and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

With officials at The Marina “thrilled” to have received £309,922 through the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF), it allows them to help face the challenges of the pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future.

It comes after the venue was forced to close its doors on March 17 and later announced staff redundancies in August.

Emma Butler Smith, chief executive, said: “We are thrilled by the news that our application to the CRF has been successful.

“This is what we desperately need. The last seven months have been very difficult, and we’ve been faced with heartbreaking decisions at every turn.

“Our priority is to keep the Marina alive and at the heart of the community that loves it. This grant makes a future possible and gives us a fighting chance through the next six months.

“We’re proud that the Arts Council thinks we are worth saving and the support from the CRF means the future is looking a little brighter for us and for the people of Lowestoft.

“We are excited to begin rebuilding our audience and continue to play a key role in the regeneration of Lowestoft.”

The theatre’s café and box office are set to reopen on October 21, with people being welcomed back into the theatre for some films and screenings from November 6.

Emma Butler Smith added: “It’s a gradual start and a far cry from last year, but we have a new bounce in our step and are excited about reimagining our programme. It’s been a really traumatic few months.

“When we launched our Survival Appeal at the end of July, we had already cancelled 325 shows and since then we have been forced to postpone all 33 performances of our pantomime.

“The Appeal has now raised over £22,000, which is simply staggering, and just goes to show how much we mean to our customers and our community.

“We are very grateful, and take this responsibility very seriously.

“We will continue to do all we can to protect the Marina, and ensure that it survives.”


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