Plough helped by Lottery funding

From the Plough’s website:

After the recent good news of a £25,000 grant from Torridge District Council, The Plough Arts Centre has been awarded £73,000 to help open and operate the business during these Covid-19 times by the National Lottery Community Fund.

John Eeles, Chair of the trustees says: “The confirmation of this hard won funding award, provides the centre with the financial confidence to be able to announce that we will restart operations within the Plough building from Thursday 5th Nov.  An initial 6 months operating period has been outlined, and future events going further into 2021 will be announced when the Covid situation is clearer.”

Though The Plough has been operating outdoor shows in recent months, including a very successful open air theatre season that attracted 2,500 people to 6 venues, and The Plough at St Anne’s in Barnstaple is open for workshops and events, nothing has been able to be arranged within the Torrington building itself, since it was forced to shut on 17th March.

He also states: “A lot of hard work went into the grant application , and we are especially grateful  to the members of staff and trustees for their time and effort in putting in such a successful bid. We are all enormously happy to know that (given any ongoing restrictions) we will be able to start providing an arts and community programme again for Torridge and north Devon from our Covid secure base in Great Torrington.”

The centre intends to initially open on a reduced working schedule of 3 days per week, and provide a combination of film and live events, along with workshops.

After being forced to make 15 long serving staff redundant, as the only way to make the business  viable for the future, The Plough will be need to operate with a widened volunteer base if the venue is to reopen successfully. The Plough is calling upon its dedicated team of existing volunteers to come back to help, and it is also calling for anyone interested in becoming part of the team to please get in touch at sends e-mail). There are roles available across the centre, including technicians, projectionists,  welcoming team, event stewards, marketing, bar and café. All are welcome to get involved and all necessary training will be provided. The arts centre has suggested that “One innovative way to become involved is to set up a group of likeminded friends and volunteer to help, as a group, for the whole event – providing help for us, but also enjoying the support and friendship of ones you know.”

Artistic Director Richard Wolfenden-Brown added:  “ We are thrilled to be able to reopen with a bang on Bonfire Night and are confident that we can gradually rebuild the organisation for the benefit of the whole community. We will be a Covid-secure venue with advance sales only, reduced capacity and social distancing in place so that audiences can safely enjoy 21 days of screenings, events, exhibitions and workshops between 5 Nov and Christmas. With the need to reduce our audience size to levels that are financially uneconomic to operate in ‘normal’ times, the Lottery  grant has provided the financial bedrock on which we can rebuild the programme of events and activities. Thanks to anyone who has ever bought a lottery ticket!”

One new and exciting development being implemented, is a dedicated  ‘live stream’ over the internet, of some events taking place onstage. For a nominal fee or donation, live  shows will be streamed to audiences across the world, using state of the art technology. This will particularly appeal to those who might prefer to join us from their homes.

For more information on the planned events and opening times, please use the plough website, facebook , twitter or Instagram pages.

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