Queen's Theatre boss celebrates £148k grant from Culture Recovery Fund

Matthew Russell has been appointed the new executive director at Queen's Theatre.

Mathew Russell, executive director at Queen’s Theatre, said the government's Culture Recovery Fund was “an extraordinary intervention on behalf of the government”.  - Credit: Queen's Theatre

A Hornchurch theatre is set to get a funding boost of nearly £150,000. 

Havering Theatre Trust, which runs Queen's Theatre, received a £148,500 grant in the latest round of investment from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund (CRF), announced on November 19. 

The fund was set up to support cultural organisations which had been put at risk by the pandemic and has so far provided grants to around 5,000 regional theatre, local museums, independent cinemas and other groups. 

Mathew Russell, executive director at Queen’s Theatre, said the CRF was “an extraordinary intervention on behalf of the government”. 

He said the theatre was “considerably underfunded” compared to similar theatres and was therefore more reliant on earned income. 

Mathew said: “The damage that the lack of earned income through ticket sales and catering and fundraising is even more significant for us than it would be for a theatre that was already in receipt of large amounts of government funding. 

“As the biggest employer in the creative industries in the borough, we offer significant employment to people, both directly and through supply chains – things like hiring equipment or ice creams or catering.” 

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He added that theatres like Queen’s “break even or not” based on their Christmas performance and the CRF funding would help in the face of what is expected to be another unusually quiet winter period. 

Queen's has received cash from previous rounds of funding from the CRF, which is administered by Arts Council England, British Film Institute, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England. 

The latest round of funding – the third so far – saw hundreds of arts, heritage and cultural organisations receive a share of £107 million. 

Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez said she is “so pleased” by the news. 

She said: “Places like the Queen's Theatre have had a really tough 18 months and as we navigate and recover from the pandemic, the government really wants to make sure that those cultural venues thrive. 

“Queen's is not just a theatre but a treasured community venue that offers support to people from every part of the community. 

“We all want it to go from strength to strength.”