"Now we can keep theatre alive" - say Sheffield group

A Sheffield group which is a ‘leading voice in African theatre’ has been given a boost to expand its work.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 12:00 am
Utopia Theatre.

Utopia Theatre, which is based in the city, received a grant of £34,817 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recover Fund.

Over the past year, as a response to the COVID-19 restrictions, Utopia quickly moved its work online.

The new grant will allow the organisation to expand this digital work as well as integrate it with Utopia’s work in physical theatre spaces. This will all work towards the goal of further connecting with their community and creatives to continue to create high quality African theatre.

Utopia Theatre.

Mojisola Elufowoju, artistic director and chief executive officer of Utopia Theatre, said: “We are delighted, relieved and extremely grateful.

"I’d like to express sincere gratitude to the Chancellor and HM Treasury, the Culture Secretary and DCMS, Arts Council England and the countless others who have played a role in securing this vital lifeline for our industry.

“The culture recovery fund is securing the future of Utopia Theatre, helping us through these challenging times and ensuring that we can continue engaging with diverse theatre makers, communities and participants in the short to medium term and for years to come.

"This support means that we can keep theatre alive and nourish our communities while we navigate our way through the pandemic.”

The second round of award will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery.

After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.

In Sheffield, other organisations to benefit included Sheffield Theatres, The Showroom cinema, Sheffield’s Music in the Round, Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust, and Sheffield City Trust.

As reported in last week’s Telegraph, culture chiefs welcomed the “important” funding.

Sir Nicholas Serota, chairman of Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. “These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.

“We are grateful to the government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”