Clonter Opera Theatre has been awarded £100,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Clonter Farm Music Trust is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Clonter Opera Theatre has been a home of creativity and musical entertainment since 1974. It is also the only professional rural opera company in the North West dedicated to offering residential talent development opportunities for emerging singers and creative practioners, at the start of their professional careers. This Cultural Recovery Grant will enable Clonter to continue creating on-line training and performance opportunities, as well as musical entertainment for its audiences, and an educational outreach programme to schools in socially disadvantaged, post-industrial and rural areas in the Northwest. It will also enable the dedicated team at Clonter to keep developing its digital capabilities and make facilities available for artists to film their work behind closed doors until it is possible to open the theatre to the public once more.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Amanda Harman and Isabella Lockett, Joint Chief Executives Clonter Farm Music Trust said “This Grant is a tremendous endorsement and recognition of Clonter’s contribution to talent development in the Northwest over the last 46 years. We would like to thank Arts Council England, Department of Culture Media and Sport, Cheshire East, HM Treasury and all Clonter’s loyal supporters, funders and on-line audiences, Trustees, volunteers, and our dedicated colleagues at Clonter. It makes Clonter more determined than ever to continue to play its part in contributing to the cultural eco-system of our local community, as well as our national creative community, at this most challenging time.”