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Shakespeare Birthplace Trust boosted by government grant

Shakespeare's Birthplace. The Trust has been awarded £3million. Photo: Mark Williamson
Shakespeare's Birthplace. The Trust has been awarded £3million. Photo: Mark Williamson

THE latest round of handouts from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund has offered a £3million lifeline to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Arts Council England announced on Saturday that 35 of the country’s major arts and cultural organisations were the first to receive grants between £1 and £3 million from the fund.

The announcement said SBT had been awarded £3 million to protect one of the region’s most significant cultural organisations.

In addition to the key properties it highlighted the Trust's designated museum collection which includes the UK’s largest Shakespeare collection, with a catalogue of more than a million items and the Royal Shakespeare Company library and archive, learning programmes including Shakespeare Week and outreach hubs, as well as digital channels like its online encyclopaedia Shakespedia.

The statement added: "This funding will ensure SBT’s survival and enable them to protect their Designated Collection, retain expert knowledge, undertake essential maintenance work and plan for the future."

Arts Council England Area Director Peter Knott said: “We’re delighted that Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has been successful through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

"The museums and historic buildings are cornerstones of Warwickshire’s cultural offer and this grant will offer them some short-term security and the opportunity to plan for the future. Holding the UK’s largest Shakespeare-related library, museum and archives and bringing thousands of children together each year as part of Shakespeare Week, the Trust protects the places Shakespeare lived, worked and grew up across the region, to inspire future generations.”

SBT chief executive Tim Cooke said: “This award is a great encouragement for the work of sharing Shakespeare, for the town of Stratford-upon-Avon and for the whole region. We are immensely grateful to DCMS and Arts Council England for their commitment and support.

“We have been so badly hit by the financial impact of the pandemic, so this investment is vital and enormously welcome at this critical time. Shakespeare’s works and heritage are central pillars of our cultural fabric.

"Shakespeare’s own story and his timeless works are amongst the most powerful and profound avenues for exploring the understanding of ourselves and our experiences in the world - all the more important in such times of crisis and uncertainty. It is essential that we protect and promote his enthralling story in Stratford-upon-Avon on behalf of our nation and the whole global community.”

SBT was the only Warwickshire recipient in this round of grants. Other West Midlands winners included Birmingham Hippodrome which also got £3 million, with varying amounts going to Birmingham Museums Trust, Birmingham Rep, the Black Country Museum Trust and the Ironbridge Gorge Trust, among others.

Also on the list is Shakespeare's Globe in Southwark, which received £2,985,707.

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