Image: Art in the Bar | Minyoung Choi, December 2017
The last few months since we closed on 17 March have been extraordinarily challenging for us and for the wider arts sector: venues, production companies, freelance artist-practitioners and more.
As a charity that in ‘normal’ times earns 82% of its own revenue and has a very low reliance on public funding, we have been particularly vulnerable. Each month we have lost around £250,000 in earned income, so we’ve had to try and plug these sizeable income gaps and make use of all the support available to us, such as the Government’s Job Retention Scheme (furlough). Over 95% of our workforce has been furloughed through this scheme since March and just 9 of us have remained, working full time to stabilise the charity and prepare us for re-opening.
Whilst we have taken full advantage of the public support schemes available to us, we have also been overwhelmed by the generosity shown to us by you, our customers, audiences and by several Trusts and Foundations who responded so generously to the Save Chapter campaign. Collectively this has helped ensure Chapter’s survival and brought us back from the brink of insolvency, a very real possibility during the months of May and June. The many individual donations we received and continue to receive from you, £5, £8, £10, etc now total in excess of £45,000! The actual cash has been immensely important and just as valuable has been the story as we have been able to clearly demonstrate the desire from our community to support Chapter and ensure our survival. That has been an incredibly strong lobbying narrative that we have used extensively.
A very heartfelt thank you from Chapter to you all!
Many of you will have seen in the media that Wales has established an arts rescue fund of £53 million to be distributed over the coming weeks (more information on this here).
Whilst we expect competition for these funds to be fierce we hope that Chapter can secure a notable amount of support to ensure we are able to get through the winter months. Months that will no doubt bring their own set of challenges as we endeavour to return to the new normality.
We have announced our intention to re-open in the autumn and will confirm the actual opening date in the next few weeks. There is a lot to put in place to ensure that we are able to open safely and in a manner that gives you, our customers, the confidence to return to Chapter, not just once but many times. We also need to have a programme in place and this will be released at the same time as we announce our re-opening date. The initial programme will not be quite as extensive as pre-lockdown but we are sure you will find it interesting, stimulating and more than enough to satisfy your respective arts-starved appetites! We look forward to welcoming you back in to our gallery and cinema soon. Our café bar will be open and our rehearsal rooms, workshop spaces and dance studios will also be operational and we’re happy to say that our studios have been open to our creative community for some time already.
When we re-open, we want to be sure that you all feel confident and safe whilst at Chapter. We would be really grateful if you could spend a few minutes completing a short survey (link here). All responses will be treated in the strictest confidence and will genuinely inform how we plan our re-opening and future events.
Many thanks again for all your support. We all look forward to welcoming you back to Chapter and celebrating our 50th birthday in 2021.
The Chapter Team