Dame Judi Dench: Arts funding is welcome but will be spread thin

Dame Judi Dench has said government aid for the arts will be “spread very thin” but she is grateful for the intervention.

It was announced on Sunday that Britain’s museums, galleries and theatres would receive a £1.57 billion support package to help them weather the coronavirus crisis.

Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues are also eligible for the emergency grants and loans.

Dame Judi told Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 Live: “I thought it was very good news to get.

“We all have been anxiously waiting for something and it has come and it is wonderful.

“I am not disparaging in any way. But there are just such a lot of things it has got to go to. It has got to go to theatre, music, culture.

“It will probably be spread very thinly, but nevertheless we are all incredibly grateful that it has come at this time.

“Now we have got to hope that things don’t go to the wall.”

Asked whether she would feel safe getting back on stage, the veteran actress said: “I would be happy to do it as long as people were safe and as long as somehow we find a way that people can come to the theatre and be at a distance.

“I feel that it is very soon to get back. The thing of going to the pub and being on the beach, that’s a worry. It’s still a terrible concern for us all.

“So, if there is a way of being in a theatre and somehow playing to – it doesn’t matter how many people you play to – but it’s just being there in a way in which it is safe for us to do so.”

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