Riverside Studios is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a grant of £850,000 towards its operations as part of Government's Culture Recovery Fund

“The Covid closure and the impossibility of staging live performance in our new building hit us hard – coming as it did just a few months after we re-opened,” Interim Executive Director Tony Lankester said. “This grant helps the industry as a whole navigate its way through the next few months and, for us, ensures that Riverside can continue to play a vital role in the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, while protecting the jobs of our mostly local team,” he added.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, Riverside has moved much of its activity into the virtual world, like many other arts organisations, offering virtual performances, talks, fundraising quizzes and opportunities for the centre to stay in touch with its community and audience. As it has been allowed to reopen, Riverside has hosted a number of socially-distanced events and film screenings in its new cinema, as well as kept its Bar & Kitchen open and has offered a takeaway service from its Bakery.

“We’ve done what we can to keep the business viable but, like it has done for many others, the uncertainty ahead has been a massive concern,” Lankester said.

Part of maintaining its viability has been repurposing its spaces to explore new revenue streams. “Riverside’s theatre spaces have been used for corporate events and television productions over the past few months, which has not only been a lifeline but also given us the chance to test the flexibility of our new building,” Interim Business and Finance Director Guy Hornsby said.

Alongside that, its spaces have been used for socially-distanced workshops in partnership with a range of community-based arts organisations, including its network of Associates who touch the lives of often forgotten and marginalised communities.

“Our main reason for being is to make the arts accessible – and Covid has forced us to reimagine how we do that and to ask how we can stay connected with our local audience who need us most. As we brace ourselves for and plan our future, this grant allows us to run programmes that put the arts front and centre in the lives of our community while investing in parts of the wider arts ecosystem that might otherwise have been neglected. We’re grateful to be given that opportunity through this grant,” Rachel Tackley, Interim Creative Director said.