THEATRES and arts venues across Hampshire have given a tentative thumbs up to news of the Government’s £1.57 billion support package for the arts.

Most are awaiting finer details of the scheme, which is set to see music venues, theatres, galleries, independent cinemas and museums receive loans and grants to help them survive the coronavirus crisis.

Mayflower Theatre bosses, who called for Government help after confirming they would not be reopening until December, are studying the proposals.

A spokesman said: “Mayflower Theatre welcomes the news that the government have announced a substantial support package for the arts and heritage sector. This is an incredibly positive step to help our colleagues across the industry and the cultural organisations in Southampton. We are a cultural organisation run as a not-for-profit charitable trust which does not receive any direct Arts Council England funding; therefore we are awaiting more detail from the announcement to see how this will affect our venue.”

Play to the Crowd, which runs Theatre Royal Winchester and Hat Fair, raised £50,000 of the £225,000 needed by September for its survival appeal over the weekend.

Chief Executive Deryck Newland said: “We eagerly await the news as to what this investment package will mean to Play to the Crowd and how quickly it can be distributed but we hope it will go in some way towards securing our future.

“Despite this generous support package from the government, and with the uncertainty around whether we are able to present a pantomime this year or when we can open viably at all, we will sadly need to continue to consult on the possible need to reduce our staff cost base and continue to ask our community for urgent financial support.”

A Tweet from John Hansard Gallery read: “We add our thanks and gratitude to this incredible news!”

But the news looks to have come too late for Nuffield Southampton Theatres, which went into administration following the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. The venues, in Guildhall Square and at the University of Southampton campus, look set to close permanently after failing to secure a potential buyer.

The government has said the package is “the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries, to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.

“This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations."