Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre receive millions in grants to recover from pandemic revenue loss

Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Theatre and Bijou Theatre have received the funding needed following COVID-19 related closures and restrictions that greatly impacted their revenue.

Tennessee Theatre received $3,771,872.11, and Bijou Theatre received $1,083,198 through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. This program allows recipients to recoup expenses and recover from when they were unable to earn revenue due to the pandemic. Funds will be used to repay eligible expenses, including payroll, ticket refunds, utilities, maintenance and repair, insurance, taxes and fees.

Both theatres are nonprofit organizations and rely on fundraising, in addition to income from ticketed events to support their preservation efforts and supporting arts and culture in East Tennessee.

“This grant provoked a sigh of relief but also a gasp of rejuvenation,” Tennessee Theatre Executive Director Becky Hancock said. “The official state theatre of Tennessee can resume entertaining and educating and serving the community, calling Knoxville home for another 93 years – at least.”

“More than 16 months without artists on stage and without fans and friends in seats was brutal,” Bijou Theatre Executive Director Courtney Bergmeier said. “The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant positions the Bijou to pick up where we left off at the start of this pandemic, not digging out of financial worry due to it. Now we are even more confident in our financial stability, and as we reopen our doors and welcome our patrons, we are grateful and hopeful: the show must – and will – go on.”

The SVOG program includes more than $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues across the United States, to be administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance. The funding has been awarded to thousands of organizations throughout the country.

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