Looking Forward at The Space
Image Credit: Ben Broomfield

The Space, on the Isle of Dogs, East London, is only just across the river from Broadway Baby’s office. The theatre’s patron, Sir Ian McKellen, lives just a short way upstream. Earlier this year he was integral to their crowd-funding scheme and we have always been pleased to review their shows and write articles in support of the work they do to encourage new writers, theatre groups and pioneering arts events. Hence, we are delighted to report that they have received £27,098 from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund in the latest round.

In 2020, we were ‘locked down, looking up’, in 2021, thanks to this award we’re coming out of the lockdown, looking forward.

Undeterred by the effects of COVID-19 and despite having to furlough the majority of their staff in April 2020, The Space launched Locked Down, Looking Up, an online programme of new play readings, workshops and performances, made possible by funding from the Arts Council’s Emergency Grants. From May to August 2020, it supported over 180 freelance theatre makers, entertained over 2,000 audience members and gained the theatre four OnComm awards.

The story of The Space under lockdown is testimony to the impact funding measures have had on theatres. The first round enabled The Space to take staff off furlough and re-open in the short October window. Realising the probable nature of theatre for the foreseeable future, they were able to invest in live-streaming equipment and continue to deliver performances, workshops, online networking and support sessions and to nurture new material.

Live-streaming of performances from their venue, in adherence with all COVID-19 safety guidelines, has been in place since February of this year. With this latest tranche of funding they can now retain all staff and continue with their regular activities of developing new work and putting on productions, as witnessed by their programme for the spring season. Artistic Director of the Space Adam Hemming has announced that ‘this will include a festival of four new plays developed in 2020, three audio plays commissioned by the Space to accompany a visual art exhibition, a Global Majority Symposium including workshops, discussions and events and a window for playwrights to submit new work to the ScriptSpace programme’.

Celebrating the new funding and expressing his gratitude for all the support received from the Arts Council and DCMS, Adams said, “We will use the latest award to underline our commitment to delivering high quality performances and expand our reach to benefit more artists and the public that we both serve. In 2020, we were ‘locked down, looking up’, in 2021, thanks to this award we’re coming out of the lockdown, looking forward.”

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this article has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now