A £1.57billion package to support the country’s arts and cultural sector through the coronavirus pandemic has been welcomed by the Octagon Theatre, which is currently facing a fight for survival.

The Octagon has recently undergone a £12million refurbishment and was due to reopen this year to showcase its transformation into a 'world class' playhouse.

Instead, theatre bosses were forced to launch a Crowdfunder appeal to raise cash to help the theatre stay afloat during lockdown.

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No date has been set for the theatre reopening ­— with lost income from the closure running into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Now, theatre bosses say the government support will give the “theatre and cultural sector” hope for the future.

In a statement chief executive Roddy Gauld and artistic director Lotte Wakeham said: “The government’s funding announcement is very welcome and gives the theatre and cultural sector hope for survival.

“There is much detail still needed about how the funding will be distributed, guidance for how and when theatres may open, and any support for the freelance workers who are at the heart of our sector. We are determined that we will be back and we’re working hard to protect our employees and serve our community until then.”

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Across the country some theatres have had to call in administrators and others face making redundancies, including the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.

The support package will provide emergency grants and loans for theatres along with museums, galleries, music venues, independent cinemas and heritage sites.

The statement added:” We’re very grateful to everyone who has supported the Octagon and theatre in recent weeks – your donations, messages and lobbying are making a vital difference to our survival.”

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(Picture Richard Lakos)

Caroline Norbury, who is chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, said the “unprecedented” package is “a seismic step forward”.

“Our creative industries are teetering on the brink of cultural collapse - and this could be the game-changer we need,” she said, adding that the support for freelancers in the sector is “particularly heartening."

To support the Octagon visit https://bit.ly/OctagonCrowdfunder.

All donations made are matched by The Oglesby Charitable Trust.