More comedy firms receive bailout help | Including Comedy Store, Hot Water and Leicester Comedy Festival

More comedy firms receive bailout help

Including Comedy Store, Hot Water and Leicester Comedy Festival

More comedy outfits have received payments from the  Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The Comedy Store will receive £964,252 to retain its staff in Manchester and London as well as deliver a programme of gigs, which it says will provide fees for more than 250 freelancers.

Venue founder Don Ward said: ‘Comedy is now rightly recognised as an art form and I am so proud to be known as the Godfather. 

‘I was devastated last March when we had to close both venues due to the coronavirus and all the relative problems it brought to the understandably enforced closure. The investment will ensure that we will be back to entertain live audiences as soon as it is safe to do so, protecting livelihoods and the artform of comedy itself.’

Liverpool’s Hot Water Comedy Club  is receiving a £450,000 to cover fixed costs, including measures needed to make the venue Covid-safe. Funhouse Comedy, which runs pub gigs in the East Midlands, receives £50,000.

Salt ’n’ Sauce Promotions, the company  behind The Stand venues, receives £71,257 to support its Newcastle branch. Today’s money is for operations in England only.

Comedy agency Gag Reflex has been awarded £74,281  to help survive after lockdown decimated its income.

The news comes in the same week that it was revealed that production giant DLT Entertainment had bought a stake in the Manchester-based agency, with plans to add a TV production arm.

Gag Reflex founder Lee Martin said: ‘The enforced closure of live entertainment venues has meant a cessation of the majority of revenue streams for us and everyone else in the arts. 

‘This funding will allow us to continue to support our staff, freelancers and the talented artists with whom we work. It will also help us to look forward to a creative and successful future investing in this wonderful industry.’

Andrew Roach Talent, another comedy agency which DLT invested in, receives £58,383.

Big Difference Company, the charity which produces the Leicester Comedy Festival, has been awarded £105,000. 

Geoff Rowe, the founding director said the payment ‘will help secure a future for the festival and our community programme’.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said today:This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.’

Earlier this week a number of comedy venues and other firms, including the Glee, 99 Club and Up The Creek, received bailouts from the same funds – although there was anger that Manchester’s respected Frog & Bucket missed out on its application.

Hot Water has donated £5,000 from its handout to a crowdfunder set up to help the Frog and Bucket, despite being a potential rival.

Published: 17 Oct 2020

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