Theatres, music venues and comedy venues across Scotland have been granted a £15m emergency recovery fund as part of a £59m package for culture and heritage.

The Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund also includes a £5m grant programme for freelancers.

The confirmation of the support is part of a long-awaited plan about how Scotland’s government would allocate funding granted by Westminster in last month’s £1.57bn cultural rescue package.

In addition, £5m will be distributed to support artists to continue developing new creative work, including £1.5m for the Culture Collective programme to support organisations employing freelance artists to work in communities across Scotland.

Independent cinemas will receive £3.5m, while youth arts will be granted £3m.

The funding also includes £21.3m for Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to protect jobs and support the reopening of properties in their care.

An additional £5.9m will be made available to support heritage organisations through committed grants, and £270,000 for the New Lanark Trust will help secure the future of one of Scotland’s six World Heritage Sites.

Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the government had “taken time to work closely with and listen carefully to the sectors, to understand exactly what they need”.

“We want to reach as many people as possible and I do believe these funds will make a marked difference in ensuring our culture and heritage sectors not only survive the pandemic but thrive in future.”

Venice film festival

A socially distanced Venice film festival kicks off today (Wednesday), marking the first major physical film event since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down events globally.

The event will require guests to wear face masks and will be required to pass through thermo-scanners as they enter the festival. Anyone found to have a body temperature of 37.5°C or higher will be denied access.

Organisers confirmed there is a system for tracing all attendees and any visitors from countries outside the Schengen area would have to take two mandatory Covid-19 tests – one ahead of travelling to the event and one upon arrival.

Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Matt Dillon, and France’s Ludivine Sagnier are among international stars that will open the festival.