Hornchurch theatre receives £100k Covid grant

Queen's theatre in Hornchurch

Queen's theatre in Hornchurch. - Credit: Sally Patterson

A theatre in Hornchurch has been given a £100,000 grant to help it recover from the effects of the Covid-19 restrictions.  

The director of Queen's Theatre has said the grant is “absolutely invaluable” and will help the theatre through its “tricky recovery”. 

It has been made available to the theatre through Havering Council’s Additional Restrictions Grant, which helps Havering businesses that have been affected by the pandemic.  

Despite losing a lot of its income throughout lockdown, the 507-seat theatre reopened on May 17 and is already staging a new production of West End comedy Neville’s Island, and rehearsing Essex musical Love Letters. 

Cllr Damian White, leader of Havering Council, said: “As we continue to follow the government’s roadmap out of this pandemic, it is important to do everything we can to recognise businesses that have suffered the most throughout this crisis, and the burden this will have on the whole community. 

“Queen’s Theatre is such an integral part of Havering’s culture, and this money will go some way to ensuring they can continue to provide great entertainment and community services for generations to come.” 

Although the theatre remained closed during lockdown, it managed to put on four digital productions for the public to enjoy, while also continuing to run its youth theatre workshops virtually and holding online activities for socially-isolated residents.  

Most recently the theatre reopened its community hub projects where it holds classes for parents and babies, older people and provides support for local artists.  

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Executive director of Queen’s, Matthew Russell, said: “This grant is absolutely invaluable to the theatre's tricky recovery after such a difficult 14 months for everyone.  

“We've been so very grateful‎ for all of the public donations and emergency support, none more so than that from our stakeholders, London Borough of Havering. 

“As 85 per cent of our income is usually earned, it's been a real daily struggle whilst the theatre remained at such limited capacity, but this extraordinary sign of support will help us keep the doors open as we rebuild the theatre’s vital work at the very heart of our community over the coming months.”