Empire Theatre receives emergency funds

Blackburn's Empire Theatre, closed due to coronavirus restrictions, has secured £108,000 from the government's Cultural Recovery Fund.

The money is part of the £1.57bn awarded by the Culture Secretary to help venues across the UK face the challenges of the pandemic.

The venue was opened 18 years ago when a community group raised £800,000 to turn an abandoned building into a community theatre.

Michael Berry, chairman of the Blackburn Empire Theatre said: "This is very welcome news for The Empire. We are a registered charity and rely on the goodwill of volunteers and a small team of very dedicated staff to help keep the theatre alive.

"The pandemic saw our income drop to zero and this injection of funds from the government means we can secure our future and deliver a programme of socially distanced performances through until March 2021. We will continue fundraising to help secure the long-term future of the theatre to invest in improvements and essential building maintenance. 

"This year, we are one of the few theatres in the North West offering a pantomime with socially distanced audiences and this funding will also help us to deliver these to bring back some much needed Christmas magic this December.”

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