A Southampton Indian dance troupe has been awarded a “lifeline” £50k grant from the government’s Culture Recovery fund to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Projects that will receive the first round of funding (£257 million in investment) were announced by the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden yesterday (22 Oct).

These investments are part of the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund announced in July and administered by The Arts Council England.

The Kala Chethena Kathakali Troupe, based in Southampton, is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country that will receive support, with more funding plans to be announced in the coming weeks.

The troupe brings the art of Kathakali – a dance style native to Kerala, South India to the public and since settling in the city in 1987 has put on 1,750 full company performances, 3,000 solo performances, 4,000 workshops and 23 exhibitions.

They aim to celebrate cultural diversity, allow people from Kerala to share their cultural identity and raise awareness of visual theatre.

Daily Echo:

Founder Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar said: "Like many other people we lost everything when all our work was cancelled this year.

"This lifeline from the Arts Council of England will enable us to survive and be ready to share and celebrate the arts of south India when the country has recovered from this terrible virus."

A spokesperson for the troupe said: "We are planning a multi-cultural project for Sept 2021 [including] performances of Kathakali, folk songs, fire sculptures and storytelling.

"Living in a world of uncertainty, shielding, restrictions, face masks and social distancing it is the perfect time to let our imagination take us forward to a time when we can live without fear."

Daily Echo:

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "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."