Sheffield Theatres has been awarded £702,400 to invest in talent and get creative in connecting with audiences and local communities, following a successful application to Garfield Weston Foundation’s Weston Culture Fund.
The game-changing grant will fund a year-long project, with community-led creative collaborations bringing people together across the city. It will also be used to invest in equipment and expertise so the Theatres can create and connect digitally – producing, rehearsing and sharing more work online and bringing the joy of theatre to a wider audience. The grant will allow Sheffield Theatres to realise its ambition to embed accessibility in all of its work by providing state-of-the-art equipment for D/deaf and disabled theatre audiences and access services to those experiencing work online, and by advancing work on creative British Sign Language and audio description.
Sheffield Theatres is committed to reflecting its city and growing the diversity of the organisation. The grant will fund six paid, positive action traineeships that will help to open up pathways into the sector and nurture diverse talent.
Dan Bates, Chief Executive of Sheffield Theatres, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation for their investment in Sheffield Theatres, in Sheffield, and in the cultural sector. This funding will allow us to best serve the city region and to play our part supporting communities to recover and heal through creativity and collaboration. We can’t wait to share more theatre both online and on-stage when we can safely open our doors again, and to bring a bit of joy to audiences when we all need it most.”
Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “Our cultural sector is at the heart of our local communities providing not only entertainment but education and inspiration for many. Our Trustees were impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit shown across the arts in response to Covid-19 and it was a privilege to hear what organisations had been doing to not only survive but also to reinvent the way they reach audiences. What really stood out was the level of collaboration and support they had for each other and the determination to keep going, despite the increasingly difficult situation.
We all want and need our cultural sector to thrive and, if anything, our time away from the arts has shown just how important they are to us – bringing much needed pleasure and enrichment to our lives. Arts organisations are desperate to re-open and get back to what they do best, and we hope that this new funding will help many of them do exactly that.”
Further details about the six new traineeships will be published online at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk in due course.