Southend entertainment company saved after being on brink of going bust

A Southend entertainment company on the brink of going bust has received a £250,000 lifeline.

Veritas Entertainment has created award-winning productions since being established in 2010.

But the coronavirus pandemic resulted in theatres being forced to shut their doors and there were fears the business would not survive.

However, Veritas Entertainment has profited from the Government’s £1.57billion culture recovery fund.

The firm is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country to receive urgently needed support.

Mark Halliday, who owns Veritas Entertainment alongside wife Jo, insists the £250,000 grant was the difference between staying afloat or going out of business.

He said: “We were at the point of having to close the business before receiving this funding.

“Having not had any work since March last year, we got to September and we were already fearing the worst.

“This business has been our baby since 2010, so getting the news that we had got the grant is a game-changer.

“It’s saved our business and we are so thankful.”

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Veritas Entertainment, which is based on Western Road, will set a large chunk of the funding aside for the Veritas Hootenanny, their latest showcase.

Covid means their production will take place online.

Mark, 44, added: “The terms of the grant means we can’t just sit on the money.

“We will be spending £70,000 on our new showcase, which is set for June and will go ahead online because of the pandemic.

“However, we’re seeing going online as a good thing because it means we can show our stuff to people who have never seen us before.

“Hopefully it will lead to even more people supporting us in the future.”

Mark and Jo have performed in West End productions such as Jersey Boys and Blood Brothers.

They are hoping to bounce back and enjoy a bright future after the most challenging year in their lives.

Mark admitted: “It’s been an incredibly challenging year, but this is a lifeline and we have to take advantage of that. Sir David Amess has been a big supporter of ours and played a key role in us getting the grant.”

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