Hackney arts and culture venues receive further Covid recovery funding

Rio Cinema screen.

Cinemas like the Rio in Dalston are set to reopen on May 17 and have been awarded funding to help their recovery following lockdown closures. - Credit: Rio Cinema

Hackney venues, groups and arts organisations have received further funding through the government's Culture Recovery Fund. 

Dalston's Rio Cinema, LGBTQIA+ venue The Glory on Kingsland Road and Hoxton Hall are among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the £1.57 billion recovery fund. 

The Rio and The Castle Cinema on Chatsworth Road both received over £104,000 after having been closed for much of the past year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Oliver Meek, Executive Director of the Rio said despite a "disruptive year" the cinema has been busy behind the scenes preparing for reopening

He said: "Crucially this money means we can open again with confidence because the reality is being open with social distancing impacts so much on income."

The Rio Cinema in Dalston. 

The Rio Cinema in Dalston. - Credit: The Rio Cinema.


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Cinemas are set to reopen on May 17, according to the government's roadmap to lifting lockdown, but Oliver says that means movie theatres have missed their busiest time of year from January to March, when all the "big awards" and Oscar films are typically released. 

Covid measures will likely see reduced capacity due to gaps between seats at cinemas and theatres as well as mask wearing, unless people are eating and drinking. 

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"It's going to take everything a while to get going but our future is secure, certainly for the next year and we are confident we can get back to where we were." 

He praised the vital support from government as well the local community, adding: "We have been really buoyed by the local support from public and cinema lovers who were keen to emphasize how much they want the Rio to reopen and don't want to lose it. 

The Castle Cinema on Brooksby's Walk in Homerton.

The Castle Cinema on Brooksby's Walk in Homerton. - Credit: The Castle Cinema

"That's true of this whole Cultural Recovery Fund in general, I'm really pleased to see my other fellow cinemas reopening. It's not just the individual sites its about keeping the industries alive in cinemas and theatre as well."

The Glory, an LGBTQIA+ performance venue and pub, known for its drag shows, received over £193,000. 

Iconic London drag queen and co-owner Jonny Woo said: “The Glory is extremely grateful and excited to have benefitted from the second round of [the Cultural Recovery Fund].

"This continued support means that we continue to grow as a grassroots arts venue and social space for queer artists and our local and London LGBTQI+ community when safe spaces such as ours are in short supply.

"As we continue to thrive we can take emerging queer talent to the heart of some of the country's most notable arts institutions and help make Hackney a world leading borough for diversity and inclusivity.”

All shows now are seated at The Glory in Haggerston, to comply with government guidelines.

The Glory on Kingsland Road in Haggerston. - Credit: The Glory

Hoxton Hall also was awarded a further funding as well as Finsbury Park arts organisation Furtherfield.org and live-music basement bar Kansas Smitty's, which has its own in-house jazz band. 

Hoxton Hall artistic director and CEO Karena Johnson said: “We’re delighted to confirm Hoxton Hall has received £138,807 which will help us stage some test events as we get ready to open in the autumn.

"We’re looking forward to welcoming audiences back for the first time since March 2020. This funding is a great vote of confidence for this small but culturally significant organisation. A hidden gem which is an important part of all our cultural heritage and future."

Karena Johnson, artistic director and CEO of Hoxton Hall. Picture: Hoxton Hall

Karena Johnson, artistic director and CEO of Hoxton Hall. Picture: Hoxton Hall - Credit: Hoxton Hall

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) announced on April 2 that more than 2,700 cultural and creative organisations were to receive a share of more than £400 million in grants and loans as part of a vital financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. 

This includes more than £300 million, which has been awarded in grants through Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute. 

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.

"Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors."


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