Torch Theatre Awarded Film Hub Wales Grant
Film Hub Wales (FHW) has awarded National Lottery funding totalling £100,000, to be shared amongst 16 Welsh independent cinemas and film festivals that have been severely impacted by Covid-19. One of these venues to receive a share of the funding is the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven. Having no choice but to close their doors at the start of UK lockdown, these venues including the Torch will potentially be some of the last organisations able to reopen as the pandemic eases.
With months of potential closure and uncertainty ahead as a result of the pandemic, the funding is a short-term lifeline to allow the Torch to keep connecting with its audiences through online activities and to help the venue to prepare for reopening at a future date.
As widely stated, arts venues, the hospitality industry and live events have been dramatically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Income streams have plummeted, and many venues are at a critical point in deciding their long-term future. As a charitable trust, this emergency funding is a welcome stream of support towards the Torch Theatre’s survival.
The Torch Theatre’s Executive Director, Ben Lloyd, said:
“We are grateful and encouraged by this vital and timely support from Film Hub Wales, made possible by National Lottery players. This fund is not the answer to the many long-term challenges we face, nor is it intended to be. Rather it will enable our continued engagement with and support for our community and the undertaking of essential work towards reopening. We have a mountain to climb in securing the future of the Torch, and this support will help us as we take those first vital steps.”
Cinemas and festivals are being driven during this difficult time by dedicated people working behind the scenes, striving to bring communities back together through film. FHW is working closely with the 16 partners to understand how Covid-19 has impacted them, so that the greatest choice of cinema can be brought back to audiences across Wales. Other venues awarded funding include Theatr Gwaun, Memo Arts Centre, Barry, and Dragon Theatre, Barmouth.
Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager of Film Hub Wales, added:
“Cinemas do so much for us; they’re there when we want to escape, they bring us together and connect us to the world. We’ve been amazed by the capacity of cinema staff to care for their audiences, from delivering local supplies, to meeting their financial commitments. We wanted to take the opportunity to share their stories. As a result of lockdown, income from ticket sales and concessions stopped overnight, putting many independent organisations and their teams at immediate risk. There’s a long journey ahead and cinemas will need ongoing support. We hope that the BFI FAN resilience fund can start the journey to reopening.”
The resilience fund is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding, repurposed by the British Film Institute (BFI) via its Film Audience Network (FAN). The fund offers critical relief and business continuity to exhibitors across the whole of the UK.
Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation. They will be used towards irrecoverable costs, to deliver creative online activities during closure, and staff time to plan towards safe reopening.
The funding by FHW is just a steppingstone in helping the Torch Theatre secure its long-term future. The theatre is looking for further support through donations, membership schemes, sponsorship and legacies. If you can help, visit the theatres website at https://www.torchtheatre.co.uk/support-the-torch