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You can unsubscribe at any time.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeA community theatre is embracing show must go on ethos as it faces up to a continued challenge to survive the fall out of the coronavirus crisis.Gosforth Civic Theatre in Newcastle which is home to Liberdade Community Development Trust, a charity involving people with learning disabilities in the arts has been weathering the Covid 19 lockdown as best it can, including by launching a fundraiser appeal.It has now seized upon the Government recent announcement of the 1.57bn rescue package for the arts as finally offering some hope for the future.And while it has yet to learn what level of help this could mean for a small arts and community venue like itself, it is in the meantime making plans to reopen its cafe for refreshments in a bid to claw back some lost cash. And it is also keen to act on the latest Government announcement by making immediate use of new opportunities for outdoor performances.Read MoreNewcastle Lit Phil reopens and library goers will need to book a visitA spokesman for Gosforth Civic Theatre said of the 1.57bn culture package: “We welcome this news as without our primary form of income from ticket sales, bar sales and space rental we cannot survive.”So, although the devil will remain in the detail of the package itself and how it will be distributed, this help will make a huge difference and go towards securing the futures of hundreds of venues across the country and supporting thousands of our supremely talented artists and workforce.”Rob Huggins, chief executive of the theatre and Liberdade, recently spoke at a North East Culture Social forum a meeting on Zoom for local theatre makers to discuss their future about how disability arts organisation opened the theatre less than four years ago and last year hosted more than 900 events and welcomed more than 50,000 people through its doors.Gosforth Civic Theatre aims to support local performers by hosting events in its gardenHe said of the sudden coronavirus closure: “It feels like one day we were working hard as usual delivering our arts and community programmes and the next we were chaining the doors shut and walking away.”He said that the theatre has dropped off mobile internet routers and iPads to help members access virtual workshops during lockdown but admitted that, with no cash reserves and the “overnight” loss of the theatre earned income which makes up almost 70% of its running costs: “Initially. I thought it was all over”.He joked: “We did have a lot of beer and crisps that we were unable to sell, so it wasn’t all bad news.”But he added: “I had made a commitment to the staff to pay them in full for as long as I could; we paid artists for work that we had commissioned and we made a film with our company members to help have the impossible conversation about why we had to close.”Having prioritised members and the organisation, he said that it finally now seems possible to talk about the future and he told how work is currently taking place to make the theatre safe and to, hopefully, open the cafe soon.He added that discussions had also taken place on how to help professional local musicians and artists who have lost their income over recent months.The intention had been to offer them rehearsal space in the building for upcoming performances but with a further boost coming from the Government with its announcement allowing outdoor performances the idea now is to programme gigs in its garden on Fridays.The first event is now set to get under way on July 17 and will be invite only but subsequent performances will be open to the public and are to be free but ticketed.For more details on the plans keep an eye out here.

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