Wiltshire Creative's artistic director has welcomed the announcement about government funding support for the arts but says "clarity" is need over when theatre's can reopen.

Wiltshire Creative brings together Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Salisbury Playhouse.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic the Playhouse and arts centre closed its doors with scheduled events cancelled as well as Salisbury International Arts Festival. Wiltshire Creative also had to furlough a number of staff members.

Artistic director Gareth Machin said during this time Wiltshire Creative has been "remaining very active", launching the Wiltshire Creative Connects online programme in addition to community work.

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Speaking of the importance of maintaining this active presence, he added: "At times like this, moments that are very challenging for people in all sorts of different ways, people do look to the arts for inspiration, reassurance, escapism, and I think for us to disappear completely at this point would be a real shame. We have felt it is important to keep that dialogue going with our audience as much as we possible can, particularly for younger people."

The government has not yet announced a date for when theatres can reopen but Gareth says Wiltshire Creative is "busy planning and trying to find ways of being able to reopen the buildings and get people back into them".

But he admits it is a "bit hard predict at the moment" how the theatre experience will be changed as it awaits further guidance.

"We're trying to be very creative in terms of how we could offer a socially distanced experience for people. We are also looking at other ways that we can offer work out in the community in ways that don't necessarily involve people having to come inside buildings. So potentially over the coming months we might be doing more work outside and in spaces where people feel safe. It is going to take a little bit of time for us to be able to to get back to normal, obviously, but we want to make sure that we are finding different ways where we can keep making work and sharing it with our audiences."

This week, the government announced a £1.57 billion support package for museums, galleries and theatres.

Gareth said: "We're delighted that the government have listened to all of the lobbying and advocacy that has been happening. We want to thank the government for that support. In terms of what it means is a little early to say because we don't know the detail of it in terms how it is going to be distributed, what it's going to be used for. We are very grateful that that has happened but it doesn't in itself solve all the problems.

"The biggest question for us is when we might be able to reopen. That remains the really big issue."

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"We're working a whole variety of different scenarios of activity that we can offer within the funding we know we have available. Obviously it is a very challenging time but we are doing everything we can to ensure that the organisation survives the pandemic and remains useful during the pandemic and then thrives afterwards," he added. "What we really need now is clarity in terms of when we might be able to reopen. What we need from government now, which we believe is coming over the next few days, is clear guidelines certainly when the earliest we might be able to open and what the perimeters around that will be then we can start to plan properly. The problem at the moment is regardless of what money may or may not be available, we just don't know what we can do and when we can do it. That is what we are really looking for at the moment."

Audience members have been showing their support for the arts charity by donating the value of their tickets.

Gareth said: "I want to reiterate our thanks and appreciation to everybody who has continued to support us during this difficult time. It all makes a huge difference."