Paignton’s Palace Theatre has been awarded £61,500 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced.

Maureen McAllister, operations director at the Palace, said: “This is incredibly good news and shows that the Arts Council believe in what we have been doing here.

“This grant means we can continue to operate through this crisis and look forward to the future; as a lively and active arts hub here in the heart of Torbay.

“Our survival through this crisis has been thanks to the support of so many organisations and people and we look forward to a time when we can get back to full houses and raising the rafters on this delightful theatre.”

Jazz Hands took on the management of the Palace Theatre in May 2018 and had managed to build the programme of performances and increase audiences significantly but, like all arts organisations, was forced to complete shut in March.

The Palace Theatre is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support.

Investment toatalling £257 million has been announced as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England.

Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation.

“It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Arts Council England chairman Sir Nicholas Serota said: “This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”