MALVERN Theatre’s chief has spoken of his relief after the government announced a rescue package for the arts sector to help businesses recover from the impact of coronavirus.

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.

Malvern Theatres has already raised £100,000 thanks to a fundraising campaign set up during lockdown as the popular venue was at risk of going out of business.

Responding to the government’s funding announcement, 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.”

Malvern’s mayor, Cllr Neil Morton, added: “It’s great that the government are going to step in and support the arts sector, which has been devastated by the pandemic.

“Malvern Theatres is the lifeblood of the town and it is right at the heart of the community, attracting people to the town and providing employment.

“I was pleased to hear how the funding appeal of the Malvern Theatres is doing as well - the generosity of donations shows just how valuable people think the theatre scene is.”

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.”

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