Tobacco Factory lands £150k emergency funding

August 11 2020
Tobacco Factory lands £150k emergency funding

Since closing its doors on March 17, the Tobacco Factory cancelled or postponed all upcoming shows for the foreseeable future.

by Charley Rogers

Reducing to a‘skeleton staff’ has allowed the charity to be eligible for the government’s Job Retention Scheme, but it has still faced the possibility of imminent closure.
This funding, along with continued community support, has ensured the safety of the venue for the next few months. 

A statement on the Tobacco Factory website says:‘This money, combined with the generous support of our audiences and friends, will ensure that Tobacco Factory Theatres can stay afloat until October.’  
The money is part of round three of Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund, in which over £33m has been provided for 196 National Portfolio Organisations across England. £2.5m of this overall pot has gone to NPOs in the South West, including the Tobacco Factory and Knowle West Media Centre in South Bristol. 
The West of England Economic Recovery Taskforce and the West of England Mayor have both publicly welcomed the funding. 
Dick Penny, taskforce member and Chair of West of England Cultural Strategy Group said:“This national package of funding for arts and heritage organisations is a great relief for the creative sector and it is good to know that regional voices are being heard.
 “The last few months have been extremely worrying for the huge number of people that work in our region’s innovative creative ecology. Although there are still tough times ahead for the cultural sector this new funding is extremely welcome. 
"Our focus now is on how we get the West of England open – stimulating inclusive cultural activity to animate neighbourhoods as we seek to rebuild public confidence and get our eco-system of freelance creatives and cultural organisations back to work.”
However, the Tobacco Factory isn’t out of the water yet. With the Job Retention Scheme closing at the end of October, staffing costs will have to be reduced by up to 70 per cent. The venue has entered into‘heartbreaking redundancy consultations with staff’ to address the issue. 
Becky Cresswell, head of marketing at Tobacco Factory Theatres, said:“We are a public facing organisation and up to 80% of our income comes from audiences. With our main source of income completely lost, we have been fighting to keep afloat. 
“With no fixed date for a reopening, it has been an enormous challenge to see the charity through this period. We have received heart-warming support from our audiences who have joined as members, made one off donations and waived ticket refunds, which along with the grant from Arts Council England has helped give our charity a chance of making it through this crisis.” 
More information about the Tobacco Factory, including how to donate, is available at