Theatre And Music Figures Say Roadmap Is Meaningless Without Support

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Theatre And Music Figures Say Roadmap Is Meaningless Without Support

A government roadmap for the return of live theatre and music has been met with calls for financial support and a timetable for reopening, with many dismissing the plan as inadequate.

The five-step roadmap did not come with dates or monetary help attached.

Actors’ union Equity said that without investment to save jobs and venues, such guidance “will be meaningless”.

Birmingham Hippodrome and UK Theatre head Fiona Allan said it was “of no practical benefit” without a timescale.

“We need dates to work towards in order to plan properly or more jobs will be lost and more venues and companies close,” she wrote. “How is this not clear?”

Venues have been shut since March, with many warning that they will go out of business in the coming months without support.

The government said it was “working with the sector to get it fully back up and running as soon as possible and considering ways in which we may be able to support it further in addition to this unprecedented financial assistance”.

On Thursday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden published the five-stage plan for a “phased return”, which will initially let performances take place outdoors, with indoors performances to follow later.

  • Stage One – Rehearsal and training (no audiences and adhering to social distancing guidelines)
  • Stage Two – Performances for broadcast and recording purposes (adhering to social distancing guidelines)
  • Stage Three – Performances outdoors with an audience plus pilots for indoor performances with a limited distance audience
  • Stage Four – Performances allowed indoors/outdoors (but with a limited distanced audience indoors)
  • Stage Five – Performances allowed indoors/outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

Mr Dowden said he wanted “to raise the curtain on live performances” as soon as possible, and that the roadmap “provides a clear pathway back”.

He said: “I am determined to ensure the performing arts do not stay closed longer than is absolutely necessary to protect public health.”

 

Despite the lack of an official timetable, on Friday the producers of a musical based on Sleepless In Seattle went ahead and announced its world premiere at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in London on 1 September.

Sleepless, A Musical Romance will star Strictly Come Dancing winner Jay McGuiness and ex-Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh.

https://www.bbc.com

That news came a day after the announcement that Sir Ian McKellen will play Hamlet at the age of 81, in what was billed as the “first major UK theatre production post-Covid to start rehearsals”.

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It will be staged at Theatre Royal Windsor, but no opening date has yet been announced.

On Thursday, Leeds theatre company Slung Low staged a rare live performance with an audience. The children’s show took place outdoors, with the performers on the back of a truck and families watching from tents.

Theatre And Music Figures Say Roadmap Is Meaningless Without Support

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