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NI museums, galleries and theatres to share in £33m boost as part of UK package for arts

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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

PA

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

The Government has announced a £1.57bn support package to "protect" the future of Britain's museums, galleries and theatres.

Northern Ireland is expected to get £33m, it was announced late last night. Museums and galleries were permitted to reopen here on Friday, but many have been struggling, and cinemas are closed until July 29.

Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues are also eligible for the emergency grants and loans.

The Government said: "Repayable finance (for the loans) will be issued on generous terms tailored for cultural institutions to ensure they are affordable."

Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts sectors is expected to be published by the Government shortly.

The package comes after some theatres - which are not yet able to stage live performances - closed down, making staff redundant, amid the pandemic.

Museums have also said they face an uncertain future, while 1,500 artists and acts signed a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden calling for a road map for the live music industry.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK's cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.

"This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down."

The Government said the money "represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture" and will help struggling institutions "stay afloat while their doors are closed".

Mr Dowden said: "I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment."

Belfast Telegraph