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The Clapham Grand Receives Lifeline Grant From Arts Council

Iconic music, comedy, drag and variety venue, The Clapham Grand, has received a £300K as a grant from the Arts Council to help the venue continue to trade.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the fund totalling £500million has supported venues and cultural organisations including The Clapham Grand who successfully applied for the grant to help survive imminent closure.

In response to the demand for help from some of the hardest hit in the sector, the Arts Council grants programme has been put in place, as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion package to help out the UK’s culture and heritage sector.

Ally Wolf, The Clapham Grand manager explains;

“We would like to thank The Arts Council for their continued support, without which we would have most likely had to close by now. We would also like to thank The Music Venue Trust, and The Night Time Industries Association for their incredible and invaluable advice and support throughout this Covid-19 era.

“More them anything we’d like to thank our audiences who have shown us huge support since we had to close during lockdown-with their donations to our Crowdfunder, and their faith in our ability to host safe physically distanced shows by coming back to us now that we are reopening. Also, a huge thanks to our staff and the performers who have worked incredibly hard in this challenging time to make sure we keep this dream of a venue alive!

“Without people you are nothing and more than ever is this true. 

“We will now concentrate all our efforts on making sure we make The Clapham Grand the best possible venue we can, a home for everyone to come and be entertained, escape reality and leave laughing - having made memories, friendships and experiences to last lifetimes. We are incredibly lucky to have been given this lifeline and are incredibly happy - but more than anything we are hungry to make the business a success.

“The Grand plays a huge part in London’s hospitality ecosystem with over 400 events a year and over 100,000 customers. We employ up to 60 people including freelancers, who look to The Grand to make a living and be part of an inspiring, mutually supportive community. We, like other venues across the country, also play an important role in the pipeline for new UK talent”.

Following on from three successful Save Live Comedy shows, the venue has recently hosted performances from comedy heavyweights Jimmy Carr and Russell Howard, music from Frank Turner and pop princess Louise Redknapp.

The venue raised over £50k themselves as part of the ‘Save the Grand’ campaign through the summer. The newly refurbished Upper Circle has increased the post-lockdown capacity of the venue by 100, taking it to 400 with current physical spacing regulations. Refurbishing and opening the Upper Circle has given the venue an extra 100 tickets to sell with distancing, although is still trading over 50% below the former capacity of 1250 – but these extra tickets give the venue more chance to make the new financial model work and survive this period. The team have been able to reformat the venue with seats and tables in a way that actually increases the audience enjoyment.

In part thanks to the grant from the Arts Council, some of the brightest new stars and biggest names in comedy, drag and music are set to take to the stage in the coming months, reflecting The Grand’s ongoing desire to showcase the very best in modern variety, comedy, music and entertainment.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:

“Grassroots venues are where the magic starts and these emergency grants from our £1.57bn fund will ensure these venues survive to continue to entertain and create the stars of the future.

“At this difficult time, we are here for culture, so I am delighted that The Clapham Grand is being helped with government grants as part of our £1.57 billion cultural recovery fund. This funding award reflects its importance to its community, the performers it supports, and to the UK’s ongoing success in the entertainment industry.”


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