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National Theatre Blog

Sir Damon Buffini to chair independent Culture Recovery Board

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced today (29 July 2020) that Sir Damon Buffini will Chair the independent Culture Recovery Board that will support the administration of Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Damon Buffini is also Chair of the National Theatre.

The Culture Recovery Board will assure the programme, advising on grant awards in excess of £1 million as well deciding the beneficiaries of the £270 million repayable finance element of the £1.57 billion package.

Robust measures have been put in place by DCMS to ensure there is no conflict of interest for any Culture Recovery Board members, and Damon Buffini will recuse himself from any discussions regarding any funding application made by the National Theatre. The Chairman of the NT’s Finance and Audit Committee will step in to fulfil those duties on behalf of the National Theatre as may be necessary in the application process.

Sir Damon said:

“I was very proud to be asked by the Secretary of State for DCMS to be Chair of the Culture Recovery Board, which will support DCMS, ACE, HE, NLHF and the BFI in delivering the Culture Recovery Fund.

Today we see the next stage in the delivery of the Culture Recovery Fund – with publication of the guidance for £622m of grant funding, and £65m of capital funding. We all want to work quickly to ensure that this funding gets to the sector as quickly as possible, and I look forward to further announcements in the coming weeks, including further details on the guidance for £270m of repayable finance.

This is a vital part of the response to the COVID-19 crisis, delivering financial support to ensure much loved organisations will endure to April 2021 and beyond. It will reach organisations both large and small, from historic houses to performing arts companies to independent cinemas. Wherever possible, it will support reopening and innovation, ensuring the public has greater access to live and digital culture, heritage and entertainment. By enabling organisations to once again create and welcome audiences and visitors, it will help support the wider ecosystem, including our world-leading creative workforce.

I know from my own experience how brilliantly our cultural sectors can respond to challenges, but I also recognise that there will be very hard choices to be made. I am confident the experience of Arts Council England, the BFI, HE and NLHF will ensure a fair and efficient process, and I am grateful to the other Board members for giving their time to support this work.”