Beacon bosses hope the show will go on thanks to an arts rescue package

BOSSES at the Beacon hope the show will go on after the UK Government unveiled an arts rescue package.

The flagship arts centre has been shut since March under the coronavirus lockdown, with almost all of its 50 staff placed on furlough on the job retention scheme.

The Beacon faces an uncertain recovery after losing its income for the last three months.

Theatre director Pauline Kane is waiting to find out how they can benefit from the £97m fund.

Their major backers Creative Scotland and Inverclyde Council have continued to honour existing funding to ensure the venue can survive.

Pauline said: “It has been a very challenging time for everyone.

“I think the lockdown has highlighted the importance of the Beacon to the local economy and the wider benefits.

“It was such a relief when the arts funding was announced on top of the £10 million from the Scottish Government.

“We are just waiting to find out more about the criteria and what that will mean for us.

“We would like to thank Inverclyde Council and Creative Scotland for their continued backing.”

Throughout the last three months the Beacon has run online classes, including dance and storytelling, which have proved popular.

Pauline added: “We have found different ways to work, some which we wouldn’t have thought of before.

“We will continue to explore these avenues.

“I think there are people who will feel comfortable contributing online but wouldn’t necessary come to a class.

“But we cannot wait until a time when we can get our live audiences back safely.”

With theatres unlikely to be able to open their doors until at July 23 at the very earliest, bosses are looking at ways they can reschedule shows.

Pauline said: “We had to suspend all our productions.

“We have kept in close touch with our freelancers and our amateur companies.

“We rely on them, they are the lifeblood of the Beacon.”

Arts organisation Creative Scotland has been tasked with administering the £10m from the Scottish Government.

Iain Munro, chief executive said: “Significant new funding announced in the past few days from both the Scottish Government and the UK Government is extremely welcome and will help greatly with the challenges ahead.

“We will work hard with partners to ensure this new support reaches artists, other freelancers and organisations as soon as possible.”

A Scottish Government spokesman added: “We welcome the UK Government’s response to our calls for funding for the sector.

“Once we have clarity on how the grants and loans will work, the Scottish Government will establish the best means to provide additional support to those devastated by Covid-19.”

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