THEATRE chiefs have expressed their joy over a rescue package from the Government to help the cultural sector which has been hit hard during the pandemic.

A £1.57 billion support package will be on offer for cultural and heritage organisations, although how much each venue will be given is not yet clear.

Sarah-Jane Morgan, CEO of Worcester Live, a charitable trust working on behalf of two city venues, the Swan Theatre and Huntingdon Hall, said: “I’m still speechless as it’s something we’ve been waiting a long time for. For a while, I felt theatres were overlooked once shops and pubs started to return.

“The people of Worcester love going to the theatre and seeing our Christmas pantomime and the funding - although it’s not clear at the moment how it will work - will allow us to move forward and get back to live performance and creating magic on stage.”

Nic Lloyd, CEO of Malvern Theatres, said: “We are incredibly pleased to hear about this investment in the arts sector, which will provide much-needed relief for theatres in need. It’s hugely encouraging that the government has pledged such a significant amount and we now feel more confident about planning for the future. We have already taken action to help ensure our own survival with our Covid-19 Appeal and have been overwhelmed by the support of our audiences. We will continue to fundraise while the crisis continues for theatres and hope that we will be able to do our bit to support the wider industry, securing Britain’s place at the forefront of theatre once again.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.”