A STREET theatre company owner says that although an arts grant has been ‘hugely helpful’, clearer government guidance is needed to ensure the firm survives the pandemic.

Jeremy Hulbert, who founded Ambleside’s The Fairly Famous Family 30 years ago, has recently been awarded a grant from the Arts Council England as part of their COVID-19 emergency fund.

“It means we can pay our insurances and basic running costs,” said Mr Hulbert.

“We can keep going probably until September now, it’s been hugely helpful.”

As an outdoor performance company The Fairly Famous Family have been hit very hard by the coronavirus crisis, like many other theatre and arts organisations.

“Our first gig work is usually around Easter and that didn’t happen for us...probably 90 per cent of our income is from then until September," said Mr Hulbert.

"Every gig we had has been cancelled.

“There hasn’t been work, although we’ve had a couple of councils who’ve had festivals online, they’ve wanted a virtual thing. We did some comedy tennis.

“So we’ve had the odd thing but really it’s been devastating.

“Instead of 90 gigs we’ve had three videos.”

Mr Hulbert said he believed there had been some good support for arts companies but if more tourist attracting businesses such as restaurants did not open by September, further help would be needed.

“I think what would really help us is clear guidance to councils and festival organisers as to whether they can book people like us,” he said.

“A lot of our work is at shopping centres to try to increase footfall, to jolly up the city centre.We’re not sure if we’re allowed with shops now opening.

“So I don’t think they have clear guidance.”

Mr Hulbert believes performances could take place whilst maintaining social distancing.

“We do shows and walkabouts where people can keep a distance but further guidance is definitely needed.”