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National Theatre Blog

National Theatre: Statement on the Culture Recovery Fund

The ensemble lift their hands towards the audiences, from Pericles, a Public Acts performance, on the Olivier Theatre stage at the National Theatre

The National Theatre is incredibly grateful and relieved to secure an emergency loan from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. It is a vital lifeline that will form part of our recovery, helping to ensure that the National Theatre will be here for culture and here for the nation, now and in the future.  


The National Theatre’s impact extends across the UK and around the world, reaching millions of audience members and young people, and employing thousands of artists and freelancers every year. All of that was put under threat this year by the devastating financial impact of Coronavirus closures which cut off 75% of our income overnight. Despite the generosity of our audiences and supporters and the drastic action we took to reduce costs including – very sadly – job losses, we face a multi-million-pound deficit this year and next. 

The decision to apply for a loan of this scale was not taken lightly; it is an essential component in our survival. Together with support we hope to secure from our partners, donors and audiences it will enable us to invest in the freelance creative workforce to produce some of the world’s most exciting theatre.  

The Culture Recovery Fund demonstrates a clear recognition of the contribution culture makes to the nation. We look forward to continuing to work with Government to ensure this investment is built on in the long term and reaches all parts of our sector. 

While the challenges of this pandemic are not over, we can now begin to rebuild the NT with a renewed commitment to make world-class theatre for everyone that celebrates the diversity of our nation. We will widen digital access, offer opportunities for every child in the country to experience theatre, help develop the next generation of talent, and change lives through participation. We stand ready to play our part in supporting the UK’s economic and emotional recovery from the effects of COVID-19. 

Joint Chief Executives Lisa Burger and Rufus Norris

What does the future hold for the National Theatre? Rufus Norris reflects on the work of cultural recovery beyond 2020 and finding every way possible to support the whole arts ecology.


Theatre is at the heart of Britain’s creativity and the National Theatre is a crucial part of that, whether working with young people across the country or making shows to thrill global audiences. Alongside the grants to smaller theatres, it’s wonderful to hear that the NT’s future is being supported by this lifeline loan.

Olivia Colman, who starred in Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes at the National Theatre