The Stage will be updating this page with all the latest updates about coronavirus and its impacts on the industry, as it occurs.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has vowed to fight hard for current lockdown restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible, claiming the creative industries will be “at the heart of our national recovery”.
Dowden was speaking as he gave a keynote speech as part of the Creative Industries Federation Creative Coalition Festival 2020.
Westminster MP Nickie Aiken has argued that despite the second lockdown there are “green shoots” for the West End and London’s theatre industry, but has pledged to push for more clarity on the details of how the sector can emerge next month.
The Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, told The Stage she believed the industry must be realistic about timelines for returning to full capacity, warning that it may be “a long time” before it is possible, but is positive about the industry’s medium-term future.
A fund spearheaded by Sam Mendes to support struggling freelancers in theatre has opened a third round of funding, as eligibility is broadened to enable more people to apply.
The Theatre Artists Fund allows eligible theatre professionals to apply for a £1,000 grant to help with living costs, and for the first time is accepting applications from freelance theatre marketers, press representatives and providers of assisted performance services, such as audio description.
Producer Michael Rose has called for a Covid-19 testing hub for live theatre to ensure all companies have access to tests at the same price and quality.
The comments were made during an online panel discussion chaired by Guildford School of Acting lighting tutor Mig Burgess and organised with the Association of British Theatre Technicians.
Rehearsals and streamed performances can still go ahead during November while England is under lockdown, culture secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed.
"Arts venues are places of work, so people can come into them for work, if it cannot be undertaken from home. This includes rehearsals and performance," he said.
Theatres and producers have warned of the artistic and financial devastation they are facing because of the forthcoming second lockdown.
Following prime minister Boris Johnson’s announcement at the weekend that the country will enter lockdown from November 5, venues and theatre owners, including the National Theatre and Nimax Theatres, confirmed the cancellation of shows that were due to take place this month.
Entertainment venues in England will be forced to close again next week under plans announced by the government, as the UK moves back into tougher national measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.
At a Downing Street press conference, prime minister Boris Johnson did not reference theatres by name but said entertainment venues would be among the businesses that must close to the public from November 5 until at least December 2.
Theatr Clwyd has issued a rallying call to the Welsh government to allow it to reopen for indoor performances, warning that it is losing audiences to theatres in England while it remains closed.
The theatre has pointed to its successful outdoor summer season, which it ran in partnership with the Welsh government as part of a test series and which it said had demonstrated its ability to open safely.
Circus bosses have been told they cannot open in Brighton due to Covid-19 with only a few days’ notice, causing 60 people to lose their jobs.
The Circus of Horrors and Continental Circus Berlin were due to perform at Preston Park as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival this week, but were told at the last minute that they no longer had permission by Brighton and Hove City Council.
A recovery plan for Manchester’s theatres and wider cultural sector has been published by the city’s mayor, Andy Burnham, as he calls for support to help the sector weather the coronavirus crisis.
It commits to helping individual artists and freelancers who have been hit hard by the pandemic, as well as providing cultural opportunities for Manchester’s communities and its young people, and working to reduce inequality in the cultural sector.
There will be no additional Sunday pay and producers will have the option to reduce the number of performances staged in a week under a temporary deal negotiated for West End actors and stage management.
The variation agreement between Equity and the Society of London Theatre could be in place up to 2023, the union has warned, as producers face the possibility of reduced audience demand when shows are able to fully reopen. It allows for producers to stage fewer shows in a week, and pay only for the performances they present, at no less than five eighths of the weekly wage.
Lighting and AV supplier White Light has been forced to make about more than a third of its workforce redundant, as it reveals it has suffered a “crippling” 95% loss of income.
The company’s managing director, Bryan Raven, told The Stage that the impact meant it had been forced to cut 98 jobs from its workforce, which formerly comprised 270 employees.
Outgoing Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse artistic director Gemma Bodinetz is to march alongside other theatre and arts workers this weekend, in protest at the government’s lack of support for the sector.
The march in Liverpool will take place on October 3 from midday, and will bring together people who work in and support the industry.
Business secretary Alok Sharma has been heavily criticised for suggesting workers in sectors that are currently unable to open – such as theatre – should be helped into “better jobs”.
The business secretary’s comments come after chancellor Rishi Sunak last week suggested jobs in the arts were not viable.
About 380 workers at the Royal Albert Hall will go on to ‘flexible layoff’ once the furlough scheme ends, which means they can return to work at the venue’s recently announced Christmas season.
On September 29, the venue announced a socially distanced festive season, which will not operate at a profit but will help to protect jobs. It will hire more than 1,000 people across the season.
Only a third of independent theatre organisations received emergency Arts Council and Creative Scotland Covid-19 funding before July, research has suggested.
The survey from the Independent Theatre Council, a professional association representing about 450 companies, looked at the impact of the pandemic on its membership.
A £7 million fund has been set up to provide grants to creative freelancers in Wales who have been affected by Covid-19.
They will be offered £2,500 each if they are eligible and their submission is successful, with applications opening on October 5.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed money will be paid to theatres and arts organisations from the £1.57 billion rescue package next month, adding the focus is on supporting infrastructure rather than individuals.
Speaking to Andrew Marr on The Andrew Marr Show, Dowden described the rescue package as “larger than any other country around the world” but admitted there are “challenges with bringing back the arts”.
Trafalgar Entertainment is preparing for a fresh round of redundancies, which will impact its subsidiary companies Stagecoach and London Theatre Direct.
The company, run by Ambassador Theatre Group founders Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, said the ongoing impact of Covid-19 had forced it to make job cuts in order to "minimise [its] losses" as the pandemic continues.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been accused of continuing to "turn a deaf ear" to the culture sector, as he announced a raft of new job protection measures that critics say will not help the arts.
Sunak’s winter economic plan, announced today to help the economy weather the next six months, includes a scheme to top up the wages of salaried workers and extending the self-employed income support scheme, but at a reduced contribution of 20%.
No sector-specific support was announced for the arts, with the chancellor declaring that help must now be targeted towards "viable jobs which provide genuine security".
The government must acknowledge the "dire prospects" facing the cultural sector and urgently provide a date for theatres to reach Stage Five of the reopening roadmap, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has urged.
In a letter to culture secretary Oliver Dowden, Julian Knight said that while the rise in Covid-19 cases meant some plans must be put on hold, the situation creates an opportunity for ministers to develop its strategy for full reopening.
The creative industries’ recovery from Covid-19 must avoid the mistakes made after the 2008 financial crisis, with the government ensuring that development is spread more evenly across the country, researchers have warned.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has issued another stark warning about the future of theatre, claiming the commercial sector is unlikely to survive the pandemic without urgent help from the government.
It comes as prime minister Boris Johnson is poised to announced further restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus, which may delay theatre’s path to reopening if the sector is covered by the new, stricter rules.
Ambassador Theatre Group is to lay off a further 500 members of staff, as it prepares for the reality of not reopening its venues until next year.
The Stage understands the staff affected are not being made redundant, with the company instead invoking “lay-off clauses”. The affected staff will be paid a small weekly fee, with the view to their jobs being kept for them for when the company is able to reopen its venues.
Pressure is mounting on the government to provide an insurance scheme that will help restart the theatre industry, amid warnings that most of the sector will not be able to resume unless the issue is revolved.
Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, told The Stage it would simply not be possible to restart any shows of scale without a government-backed scheme in place.
Major UK arts universities could lose an estimated £100 million in international student fees if coronavirus significantly affects enrolment, according to new data analysis from money.co.uk.
Personal finance company money.co.uk has investigated how much money UK arts universities could lose if international students put their offers on hold.
Pantomime dames will march to Westminster next week as they highlight the impact the loss of panto will have on theatre and live events.
The Panto Parade, on September 30, will be a socially distanced march at Cambridge Circus, ending in Parliament Square. At the same time, other creatives and those excluded from the government’s support schemes will also march from the Southbank to Parliament Square.
MPs will be invited to come and meet them, to find out how the pandemic has affected them and what further support is needed.
Almost three quarters of UK arts organisations expect to return to in-person performances by the end of the year, new data suggests.
The finding is part of arts consultancy TRG Arts’ research into the reopening plans of organisations, showing that 71% of surveyed UK organisations are expecting in-person performances this year. This is up from 64% in July and 50% in June.
Backstage workers will see their pay frozen and have contracts that provide for lay-offs in relation to further Covid-19 restrictions, under temporary contract changes aimed at getting the industry “back on its feet”.
Society of London Theatre and BECTU have concluded a Variation Agreement, which provides modifications to the existing SOLT/ BECTU Agreement and aims to help theatres reopen as soon as possible.
The planned reopening date for theatres in Scotland has been pushed back by three weeks until October 5.
Theatres and other entertainment sites such as live music venues had previously been given an indicative date of September 14, 2020 to reopen if they were "following guidance with physical distancing requirements".
London’s h Club, formerly the Hospital Club, is closing permanently as a result of Covid-19 and "other extenuating circumstances" within the company, it has announced.
Both h Club London and its outpost in Los Angeles are being prepared for sale, according to its managing director Rob Seals.
Theatres, producers and industry bodies have welcomed plans unveiled by the government for mass testing, aimed at getting audiences back into theatres.
However, they have cautioned that more detail is needed on who will be expected to fund the process, and how it will be carried out. They have also repeated calls for the government to provide a date for reopening, warning that without this they are operating in limbo.
MPs are calling on the government to change course and offer targeted extensions to the furlough scheme to save sectors such as theatre facing "total collapse" as a result of not being able to resume business.
In a House of Commons debate, Labour demanded the government reverse its decision to end the existing wage support schemes next month across the board and extend help for workers in the areas of the economy that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis.
The Royal Albert Hall has issued an urgent plea for donations to save it from ruin, warning that it faces an "extremely perilous" future.
The London venue criticised the handling of the government’s arts rescue package, after being deemed ineligible for a government grant, despite being one of the country’s "crown jewels".
A major national crowdfunding campaign has been launched by the Theatres Trust to help save around 50 venues from closure due to the impact of Covid-19.
Supporters are able to donate to the #SaveOurTheatres campaign as a whole or to individual venues, with nearly £500,000 already raised.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has made a renewed plea to the government for a date when venues can open fully again, as frustration was expressed that July’s pilot performance at the London Palladium had not enabled the industry to full reopening sooner.
Lloyd Webber was giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, alongside Rebecca Kane Burton, chief executive of LW Theatres. She warned that if ministers wait until November to offer any indication of when theatres can reopen, the entire sector’s reopening will be pushed until next summer, enforcing more than a year’s worth of closure.
Theatre figures and bodies have cautiously welcomed news culture secretary Oliver Dowden would like to see theatres reopened fully by Christmas.
Dowden outlined the government’s intention to get theatres reopened by the end of the year in a piece for the Mail on Sunday at the weekend, in which he revealed Operation Sleeping Beauty had been launched to enable this.
The chancellor is facing renewed calls to extend the furlough scheme specifically for the arts and leisure sectors, with the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee warning that the entire industry’s future is at risk without it.
Julian Knight, chair of the cross-party committee, has written to Rishi Sunak claiming that the government’s current approach – whereby the job retention scheme will be wound down next month – renders its support for culture "highly inflexible".
A third of performing arts freelancers in Wales are considering leaving the industry due to the impact of Covid-19, a new survey has found.
According to the research, 94% of theatre freelancers in Wales lost work due to Covid-19, with the vast majority (90%) losing up to £20,000 of earnings.
A discount scheme for theatre, similar to one used to help restaurants recover, should be implemented by the government, leading think tank Centre for London has claimed.
Theatre Deli has closed two of its London spaces amid Covid-19, as it warns the organisation’s future survival is "far from secure".
The theatre company has handed back its Old Library venue in Burgess Park, which it ran for more than three years, to Southwark Council.
JHI Marketing, which has worked on shows including Six and Mamma Mia!, has closed after a decade because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company employed 16 members of staff and was founded in 2009 by Jo Hutchison.
Hundreds of arts workers have returned to London’s South Bank to protest against about 1,000 planned job cuts at major institutions including the National Theatre and the Southbank Centre.
It is the latest in a series of large-scale protests against widespread losses at the London organisations, with affected casual workers now making a number of demands on employers as their contracts come to a close.
Scottish theatres and comedy venues will be able to access a share of a £15 million emergency recovery fund, under long-awaited plans about how the country’s government will allocate funding granted by Westminster in last month’s cultural rescue package.
The Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund was announced by first minister Nicola Sturgeon as part of a £59 million package for culture and heritage that also includes a £5 million grant programme for freelancers.
Ambassador Theatre Group is being accused of mishandling the way it has laid off casual workers during the pandemic, with entertainment union BECTU supporting workers who believe they should be entitled to redundancy pay.
The operator, which runs 32 venues across the UK, is also in dispute with casual staff over whether they should receive holiday pay for days accrued while they were furloughed.
The arts and entertainment industry is continuing to be hit harder by Covid-19 than almost every other area of the economy, despite many sectors showing signs of recovery, new data has revealed.
High numbers of businesses in the sector are reporting dramatic turnover decreases, potential insolvency and dwindling reserves, while the arts and entertainment industry remains the highest adopter of the nearly expired furlough scheme.
The Royal Shakespeare Company has confirmed it will not reopen its theatres for full productions until 2021, as it announces that redundancy consultations will soon get underway.
The company has not confirmed the scale of the redundancies, only that a formal consultation process will begin in October, but also said from November it would no longer be able to pay casual workers of employees on variable-hours contracts.
The Theatre Artists Fund, established by Sam Mendes to support freelancers struggling during the pandemic, has reopened for applications after receiving a further £1.9 million in donations.
It has also revealed that every eligible applicant for its £1.6 million first round has been offered a grant, meaning 1,600 theatre workers across the UK have each been awarded £1,000.
More than 200 casual staff at Sadler’s Wells will be let go at the end of next month, as the organisation confirms it will be terminating their furlough payments.
The London dance venue said it is no longer able to fund the furlough contributions for casual workers beyond the end of September, when the scheme will be just a month away from being wound down entirely by government.
Government guidance has been updated to allow singers to be closer together in light of a study that found singing carried no more risk than talking in the transmission of Covid-19.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has amended the previous three-metre social distancing rule. It now states that two-metre social distancing is encouraged for singers and wind and brass musicians wherever possible.
A company that has been creating sets and props for theatre and film for 35 years has been forced to shut down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
3D Creations, which has made the sets for the past four Palladium pantomimes and supplied props to TV shows including Game of Thrones, is winding down operations after losing all of the business it had planned for this year.
Singing is no more risky to the transmission of Covid-19 than talking, preliminary data from a major government-supported study has found.
The study looked at the amount of aerosols and droplets generated by a group of 25 professional performers completing a range of exercises including breathing, speaking, coughing and singing.
Shakespeare’s Globe will allow members of the public to tread its boards for the first time, in a bid to encourage visitors back to its building after the pandemic.
The Globe’s guided tours will restart on August 21, marking the public reopening of its Bankside site after five months of closure, which have seen it fight for its survival.
The UK’s performing arts are at risk of a talent exodus and will experience a "sudden decline", unless creative freelancers are supported by the government until spring next year, the sector is warning.
In one of the strongest calls to government yet, more than 120 organisations, industry bodies and creative professionals have written to chancellor Rishi Sunak to ask for an extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme until spring 2021.
Blackpool Grand Theatre could face permanent closure if it is not successful in receiving a government rescue grant, it has warned.
The theatre, which announced this month that the cancellation of its pantomime is forcing it to begin redundancy consultations among staff, has now said that if social distancing continues, it may have to shut its doors for good.
More than 850 staff have lost their jobs at Cameron Mackintosh’s theatre companies, following the conclusion of redundancy consultations.
Entertainment union BECTU has accused Mackintosh of an "unwillingness to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in full" and failing to support his backstage and front-of-house workers when other employers "have done their utmost to find creative ways to safeguard the livelihoods of their staff".
HQ Theatres has announced that furlough payments are to end for 600 casual staff across 12 venues at the end of August.
The company is paying national insurance and pension contributions throughout August for staff on furlough as part of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Guidance has been published on how arts organisations can apply for the government’s £270 million repayable finance scheme.
The repayable finance was announced as part of the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, which also includes £622 million of grants.
The theatre industry has welcomed news that socially distanced indoor performances will be able to restart this weekend after a hiatus of five months, as key figures push for more progress towards full reopening.
Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre, said the organisation was delighted that Stage Four of the government’s roadmap had now been reached, meaning shows can restart, provided social-distancing rules are met.
London’s West End is being hit by a "perfect economic storm" of ongoing home working, reduced tourism and social distancing requirements and needs urgent support to survive, mayor Sadiq Khan has warned.
The London mayor has written to prime minister Boris Johnson to outline the "existential threat" of the Covid-19 crisis on the West End’s businesses, including theatres, restaurants and bars, and shops, and offer a plan for their recovery.
Leaders of four performing arts trade bodies have criticised the government’s "one star" response to the crisis facing the sector due to Covid-19.
Representatives from Equity, BECTU, the Musicians’ Union and the Incorporated Society of Musicians warned the sector has lost confidence in the government.
A fundraising drive has been launched to support the future of rural arts in Scotland, which is under threat due to the pandemic and social distancing rules.
The Keep Rural Arts Live crowdfunder is attempting to raise £20,000 to support live performance in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and ensure that it can return as soon as it is safe to do so.
Sadler’s Wells could make around 50 of its staff redundant as part of efforts to reduce its costs during the pandemic, as performing arts venues remain unable to reopen.
The London dance organisation said it had entered into consultations with its permanent and fixed term staff, with 51 roles at risk of redundancy. This represents 26% of its workforce.
Theatres and hundreds of their workers came together for a nationwide event in which venues lit up red, as part of a warning to the government about the perilous state of the sector.
The Red Alert event, part of the #WeMakeEvents campaign, was held to raise awareness of the UK’s industry professionals, who have not had work since March and are facing the prospect of no employment until next year.
The Royal and Derngate in Northampton is proposing to make about 20% of its permanent staff redundant as a result of the ongoing impact of the pandemic, as it also announces the postponement of its 2020 pantomime.
Confirming the news, artistic director James Dacre admitted the extended period of closure had put the theatre and the wider sector "in an impossible position".
A new series of photographs will document the cancellation of the 2020 Edinburgh Festival Fringe with images of empty venues and artists who have nowhere to perform.
The Lost Fringe photo series has been created by Richard Davenport and Richard Lakos, who are co-directors of photography and film company the Other Richard.
An inquiry has been launched by the House of Lords into how the Covid-19 crisis is affecting employment in the UK, which will focus on all sectors including theatre.
Entertainment union BECTU has estimated that job casualties in theatre alone now total more than 5,000, a figure that accelerated by 2,000 last month.
A third of young people have said they are less likely to visit theatres in person post-lockdown, according to a survey.
Of these, 68% said they were concerned about the risks of catching coronavirus while going to the theatre.
Actors are being urged to “exercise extreme caution” when taking part in auditions during the pandemic, amid reports of suspected abuse within casting networks.
Equity is warning its members they may be more vulnerable to exploitation during the crisis, advising them to inform the union of any safety concerns, “particularly where it involves a request to create a sexually explicit self-tape”.
Theatres are entering a critical stage in their fight for survival, with the cancellation of the 2020/21 pantomime season expected to cost the industry more than £90 million in lost revenue.
Cast and stage management on Mamma Mia! have been released from their contracts, as producers prepare for the show to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
The move makes the West End show the latest to suffer as a result of a lack of clarity on when theatres will be able to reopen without social distancing, with culture secretary Oliver Dowden confirming recently no date will be given earlier than November this year.
Theatre and the wider entertainment industry will not receive a targeted extension to the furlough scheme while they remain unable to operate, chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed.
The scheme, which was introduced in April to help employers pay the wages of staff unable to work during lockdown, is "not something that can carry on forever", Sunak warned.
Theatre workers missing their jobs can come together weekly to share their stories and experiences as part of a new event.
The Green Zoom has been created by Theatre Chaplaincy UK, which offers support to people of all faiths and none, and is aimed at giving people a forum to come together with others in the industry who are mourning the loss of their work.
Fairfield Halls in Croydon is preparing to make all its contracted staff redundant and let go of its entire pool of casual workers, with about 150 roles affected in total.
The losses will impact 32 contracted staff and about 120 casual workers, as the south London venue confirms it will remain in "temporary hibernation" until it can viably reopen for performances.
Professional opera singers will perform arias to people struggling with personal issues during the pandemic as part of a new online initiative.
Opera Helps initially began as a site-specific project, offering support to people in their own homes. However, it will now be run as an online offering in association with arts company Wunderbar.
The first £7.5 million of the Scottish government’s £12.5 million Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund has been allocated to 20 venues in receipt of Creative Scotland’s regular funding.
The "lifeline" grants range from £75,400 for Glasgow’s Platform arts centre to £750,000 for Aberdeen Performing Arts, Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum and Eden Court in Inverness.
A London pub theatre that has played host to names including Harold Pinter, Nigel Havers, Alexei Sayle and Ben Elton is fighting for its survival for the first time in its 50-year history.
Pentameters Theatre relies solely on box office revenue, but said coronavirus had left it with no income and unable to pay its rent, so it has launched a fundraising campaign.
King’s Theatre Edinburgh’s production of Sleeping Beauty has emerged as one of the first shows to be postponed amid the Qdos pantomime crisis, in what has been described as the “biggest blow” yet to the theatre during the pandemic.
The lack of a pantomime this Christmas will result in a loss of millions, the theatre said.
Producer Jamie Hendry has revealed plans for a "ground-breaking app" that he hopes will be the key to Covid-safe theatregoing, allowing audiences to certify their health to guarantee entry.
In a partnership with Prova, the creators of a health pass app, Hendry has created Ents, which will combine theatre ticket bookings with an individual’s Covid-19 health status to allow entry.
London’s Southbank Centre has hit back at claims its management is causing "irrevocable damage" to the future of the organisation, after more than 6,500 current and former employees criticised its handling of the pandemic.
The arts centre – which is the largest of its kind in Europe – has warned it is being crippled by the financial effects of coronavirus, and has already announced proposed redundancies of up to two thirds of its staff – around 400 roles. It is also appealing to government to help it clear around £21 million of historic debt.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is among those offering rewards as part of a new fundraising campaign to support artists who were due to appear at Underbelly at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year.
A database charting the opening status and programming windows of nearly 900 theatres has been created to help the sector get back on its feet following the pandemic.
Theatre company Spun Glass Theatre has published the data collection for free online, hoping that producers, companies and freelancers can use it to map the new landscape and show where new productions and tours can take place.
Theatre by the Lake has confirmed 38 staff members will be made redundant following a consultation process.
The theatre announced in June that the redundancies were necessary to reduce payroll costs, and because of changes to the government’s furlough scheme, which come into effect this month. Companies will have to start paying national insurance and pension contributions from August and a percentage of the wages from September.
Oscar-winning actor Vanessa Redgrave was among about 300 people who protested against arts redundancies in central London this weekend, calling on the National Theatre and Southbank Centre to reverse plans for widespread cuts.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the NT’s South Bank home on August 1 in what was the largest public event yet in opposition to job cuts in the arts, as Redgrave described redundancy proposals at the two organisations as "absolute madness".
Performers have agreed to “giving up their Christmas” in order to allow a pantomime to be staged in a Sevenoaks theatre this year.
The cast of five, and four dancers, will be tested for coronavirus in November, and will self-isolate for two weeks prior to rehearsals beginning to allow the show to be staged at the Stag Theatre.
Leading pantomime producer Qdos Pantomimes has given its strongest indication yet that this year’s festive productions are in jeopardy following inaction from the government.
The producer said while it was not “immediately announcing the postponement of all shows”, it had begun consultations with all its partner theatres about the viability of running productions this year.
Director Mike Leigh and playwright Caryl Churchill have called on the National Theatre to protect its front-of-house staff from job cuts, ahead of a major protest planned against the losses this weekend.
Hundreds of National Theatre and Southbank Centre staff are expected to protest outside the London venues this weekend, against the cuts to jobs.
Industry leaders are developing a quality mark to be displayed in theatres and on other promotional materials, aimed at rebuilding trust among theatregoers.
It is one of a number of measures being planned to regain the confidence of theatregoers when venues are able to reopen. Staggered start times for shows are also being considered, as well as plans to work with Transport for London on helping audiences get to theatres.
Leading names from the entertainment industry including Daniel Radcliffe, Gillian Anderson, Meera Syal and James Corden have pledged donations to a new fund aimed at supporting theatre professionals whose livelihoods have been threatened by Covid-19.
The Theatre Community Fund has been launched with a £1 million pledge from its founder donors, who also include Imelda Staunton, Danny Boyle, Emma Thompson and Andrew Scott. It will offer grants of up to £3,000.
A planned reopening date for Scottish theatres and other live entertainment venues has been announced by Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The date given is September 14, allowing indoor shows with physical distancing in place.
London’s Bush Theatre has announced it will reopen on August 6 with a series of community activities.
The theatre building, including the Library Bar, will reopen with social-distancing measures in place.
Donations to performing arts organisations in the UK have fallen by 12% in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, new data analysis has revealed.
Consulting firm TRG Arts and data specialists Purple Seven analysed information from 39 performing arts organisations across the UK - including theatres, concert halls and arts centres - and 66 venues in North America.
A £500 million allocation of grants for cultural organisations from the government has been branded "pitiful" by a campaign group for freelancers, which warns many workers will leave the industry without targeted support.
Freelancers Make Theatre Work said workers "were standing on a precipice" and have now been "pushed over the edge" by the government’s latest announcement.
Theatres will not find out before November when they can reopen without social distancing, the culture secretary has said.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Oliver Dowden said indoor performances without social distancing could resume only when it was “safe to do so” and that information on when this will be possible would be given in November.
Vault Festival has been postponed until 2022, which will mark the event’s 10th anniversary.
According to the organisers, the event takes 10 months to plan and create, and that this – together with the “financial and safety risks” brought about by the pandemic – means it needs to postpone its next full live festival until 2022.
Arts Council England has released detailed guidance on how organisations can apply for grants of between £50,000 and £3 million as part of the government’s £1.57 billion support package.
The funding body will oversee the distribution of recovery grants totalling £500 million to support theatres, music and comedy venues, and museums.
Leading UK costume supplier Angels has made 15% of its staff redundant due to Covid-19.
The company’s chief executive Tim Angel confirmed that 18 out of 120 staff have already been made redundant, with more at risk.
Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre has made a third of its permanent staff redundant due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to chief executive Joanna Read, the theatre had 31 permanent staff in March, with ten roles having been made redundant and a further four at risk.
London’s National Theatre is exploring the possibility of reopening its spaces while social distancing restrictions remain in place, in a move that would see performances return to the theatre for the first time since March.
A statement from the organisation said it believed "theatre can and should be performed in this new world", and is investigating whether it can reconfigure its theatre spaces to allow audiences to attend in social bubbles.
London mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the government to delay imminent changes to the furlough scheme, warning that planned adjustments will accelerate job losses in the capital’s cultural sector.
According to City Hall analysis, the accommodation and food sectors have the highest take-up rate in the furlough scheme in London, at 71%, followed by arts and entertainment at 63%.
A leading theatre lawyer has said it is unlikely that contracts requiring offstage workers to repay furlough contributions are against the law.
However, she warned that questions may be raised around whether employees were given a legitimate choice in the matter.
London’s Southbank Centre has warned it is being crippled by £21 million of debt it is unable to address during the pandemic, as it faces several more months of closure and even longer before pre-Covid income levels return.
The arts organisation, which last week said it may have to cut as many as 400 jobs as it fights to survive, is calling on the government to step in and ease what it describes as "historic capital debts", incurred on refurbishments.
Director Trevor Nunn has added his voice to calls for a date when theatres can reopen without social distancing. He also said the UK should look at what other countries are doing to get theatres open.
Nunn made the plea at the test event held at the London Palladium, at which audiences were seated to allow for social distancing, echoing calls from Andrew Lloyd Webber at the event for Boris Johnson to give the UK a date for when theatres can reopen fully.
LW Theatres chief executive Rebecca Kane Burton has claimed a pilot event held at the London Palladium will enable theatres up and down the country to reopen their doors.
At the test event, held to see how theatres can reopen safely, she said LW Theatres had employed the head of pharmacology at the University of Oxford, along with six other “erudite scientists”, to write a report looking at methods of getting theatres reopened, and which measures will enable that. She said LW Theatres had been through an 18-week process to see how venues can reopen.
A campaign uniting 7,000 arts professionals has written a letter to culture minister Caroline Dinenage calling for freelancers to be included in the government’s £1.57 billion support package for the arts.
The grassroots #OneVoiceCampaign, which had 7,000 people sign its initial statement of campaign values, is behind the call to action.
Performer Beverley Knight has confirmed the safety of backstage staff in theatres, following a pilot event to show how venues can reopen safely.
Speaking at the London Palladium, where she performed to a socially distanced audience as part of an event to test new safety measures, she told The Stage all backstage staff had been tested for Covid-19 and that a number of new measures were in place, such as temperature readings and a one-way system backstage.
Nearly three quarters of theatres undergoing capital projects say they will no longer be able to secure funding to complete the works due to Covid-19, research by the Theatres Trust has revealed.
The national advisory body for theatres identified 106 capital projects across England that are either in the advanced stages of planning or have begun building works.
Sam Mendes’ Theatre Artists Fund, launched earlier this month, has already trebled its amount raised for freelancers affected by the pandemic, with high-profile donors including Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne and Imelda Staunton.
The Theatre Artists Fund was established with an initial £500,000 donation from Netflix, but has now raised £1.6 million for self-employed theatre workers who have been pushed to "breaking point" during lockdown.
Disabled artists have said they feel "a great deal of anxiety" about being excluded when theatres reopen, as many may have to continue shielding until there is a Covid-19 vaccine.
Actor Mark Beer, who was one of the first disabled presenters on children’s TV, raised the issue with The Stage, urging the industry not to use the virus as an excuse to send disabled artists "back in the cupboard".
Producers of the musical stage adaptation of Sleepless in Seattle, which is due to begin socially distanced performances next month, have announced plans to trial daily Covid-19 tests on cast, crew and staff to help it open safely.
If it opens as planned on August 25, the show will be one of the first indoor productions to perform following lockdown and has promised to implement a “new, accurate” Covid test that can supply results in 30 minutes.
Industry bodies have supported the findings of a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee report, which criticises the government for taking too long to announce a support package for the arts.
The report warns that the pandemic is "the biggest threat to the UK’s cultural infrastructure in a generation" and includes recommendations for flexible versions of the furlough scheme and self-employment income support schemes, and the publication of a ’no earlier date’ for when performances will be allowed indoors and outdoors with a fuller audience by August 1.
Dancers Network is launching an emergency relief fund that has received supported from pop stars including Kylie Minogue, Perrie Edwards and Anne-Marie.
Through an online fundraising page, the dancers’ support organisation aims to raise £15,000 to support artists in financial difficulty due to Covid-19.
A new 50-capacity socially distanced theatre space is being launched in a London pub garden.
The Garden Theatre at the Eagle in Vauxhall will open with a production of musical Fanny and Stella.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has urged the government to provide clarity on when theatres can reopen fully.
He said he had heard from sources in the government that its “aspiration” is November, but said: “No one can do that on the basis of an aspiration. We need a date we can open on.”
Open-air performances on the streets of Liverpool are in development thanks to the creation of a £200,000 dedicated fund set up by Liverpool City Council and Arts Council England.
Grants of up to £5,000 will be available for artists and organisations to create work through scheme, which the council said would inspire Liverpool’s artists to look at new ways of making work and encourage audiences back into the city centre.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Martin McDonagh and Whoopi Goldberg are donating items and experiences to an auction aimed at raising money for theatres and the arts workforce.
The online Theatre Super Auction is open until July 26, with all proceeds going towards Acting for Others, the Theatre Artists Fund and the Theatres Trust, which are supporting theatre workers and organisations affected by Covid-19.
Performers due to appear at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe and theatre shows whose runs were cut short due to Covid-19 feature on the line-up of a new festival conceived during the pandemic.
The New Normal outdoor theatre festival has been put together in little over a week, following a call-out to producers for shows that could be ready to perform at short notice.
Cast and offstage workers are being asked to sign contracts requiring them to repay employer furlough contributions from their wages once shows resume, according to industry bodies.
The plans have been described as a “retrograde step” that could cast doubt on workers’ futures in the sector.
An alliance has been formed to ensure the voices of backstage workers and creatives are heard in discussions about the post Covid-19 recovery of the theatre industry.
The Alliance of Associations and Professionals for Theatre and Live Events was formed following a meeting on June 23 between organisations including the Association of Lighting Designers, the Association of Sound Designers, Costume in Theatre Association and the Production Managers Forum.
Producers and theatres have cautiously welcomed plans to allow theatres to reopen for indoor performances from August 1, hailing it as a “big step forward” for the industry’s recovery. However, the government has been urged to provide greater clarity on dates when venues can become fully operational.
Concerns are being raised in Wales about how £59 million of funding announced as part of the government’s investment package will be distributed to the country’s at-risk arts sector.
Organisations and artists in Wales are "on their knees" as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, members of the Senedd have warned, meaning they urgently need clarity as to whether the promised support can be delivered.
Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre has become the latest organisation to announce it is entering redundancy negotiations, in a move that will affect a third of its permanent staff.
The theatre has also revealed it will remain closed until 2021.
Former Royal Court artistic director Dominic Cooke has claimed theatres have been focusing on staffing levels at the expense of funding talent.
He has urged theatres to commission work now for after lockdown, making use of freelance talent and “filling their larders” for the future.
Up to 400 jobs are at risk at the Southbank Centre, as the organisation attempts to “stem the financial losses” it has suffered during the pandemic.
The London venue said it had begun a 45-day consultation period, which could affect 400 of its near 600 roles - more than 60% of its staff.
The Royal Opera House has confirmed it has made its entire roster of casual staff redundant, with plans for further cuts looming, in order to survive Covid-19.
Employees have pleaded with bosses at Covent Garden to save their jobs, however chief executive Alex Beard said that despite announcements of "vital" government funding, "the financial pressures caused by the pandemic are such that significant cost reduction is needed".
Redundancies are being planned at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LW Theatres.
The organisation, which operates seven venues including the London Palladium and Theatre Royal Drury Lane, is understood to have contacted staff affected in June, but there have been no redundancies to date.
Nuffield Southampton Theatres could be saved and reopen, with stakeholders now considering a second round of bids after failing to secure a buyer for the venue.
It is not known how many bidders have submitted applications, however one group – Icarus Theatre Collective – has confirmed its attempt to take over the two spaces that are part of venue NST City.
Local authorities have been accused of refusing to honour site bookings previously made by circuses, despite permission having been given by the government for big tops to reopen.
Equity makes the accusation in a letter to chief executive of the Local Government Association, Mark Lloyd, which asks the body to "urgently" advise its member councils that site bookings should be honoured.
Dance organisations are being urged to offer more opportunities to freelance artists as a way of helping the sector get back to work following coronavirus.
On behalf of freelance dancers, Equity’s dance committee is asking national portfolio organisations to show how they intend to support the art form’s large self-employed workforce, who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Urgent clarification on who will be eligible for grants under the government’s £1.57 billion emergency package and when they will be awarded is vital to stave off further redundancies in the sector, BECTU has warned.
The backstage union has written to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to seek clarity, warning that organisations are continuing to make redundancies while uncertainty continues.
Circuses have been given the green light to reopen subject to strict regulations, following a pilot study.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden announced during a 5pm press briefing on July 9 that outdoor performances can restart from July 11.
Birmingham’s Town Hall and Symphony Hall have entered into a redundancy consultation as a result of extended closure due to Covid-19.
The organisation running the concert halls said that although it had been awarded emergency relief funding by Arts Council England, the redundancies were necessary “in order to have a chance of survival”.
Theatres in Bristol, Coventry and Exeter are among the latest to confirm they have begun redundancy consultations, as the fallout from months of closure continues.
More than 50% of staff at Exeter Northcott Theatre could be at risk of losing their jobs, with 21 roles under threat at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre and a requirement to cut staff costs by as much as 70% at Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol.
A quarter of freelance theatre workers have been unable to access emergency income of any kind and a third are considering leaving the industry, a survey of more than 8,000 participants has found.
The research also revealed that 36% of the freelance workforce in the performing arts received no support from the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or coronavirus job retention scheme.
The Big Freelancers Survey was conducted by Stage Directors UK, Freelancers Make Theatre Work and Curtain Call in June 2020.
A crowdfunding campaign, live-streamed shows and a digital pick’n’mix platform are among the programme of alternative digital plans announced by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society for 2020.
The National Theatre has confirmed that redundancies of 400 casual workers will still go ahead despite the government’s announcement of a £1.57 billion support package for the industry.
According to the London-based organisation, the redundancies are "sadly unavoidable" due to uncertainty around how the emergency funding will be distributed and the projected financial impact of coronavirus into 2021.
A £100,000 fund for freelance artists has been launched by the Genesis Foundation, as its founder calls for philanthropists to play their part in helping theatre recover.
The Genesis Covid-19 Artists Fund will add £100,000 to its annual commitment to partner organisations including the National Theatre, LAMDA and the Young Vic.
Specially designed Show Must Go On T-shirts have raised £250,000 for charity.
The T-shirts have been on sale alongside other items, including mugs and badges, and were created by Damien Stanton and Chris Marcus under the Theatre Support Fund banner.
Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced it is beginning redundancy consultations that could affect up to 40% of staff, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite the announcement of the government’s support package and Arts Council England’s emergency funds, which Birmingham Rep said would “partially mitigate” its losses, the theatre said cost-saving measures would be necessary to ensure the organisation’s future survival amid continued uncertainty about when it could reopen.
Cultural leaders from the Tees Valley have joined up with representatives from the local tourism and hospitality sectors in a combined effort to help the region recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Spearheaded by Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, a taskforce has been created to secure the futures of the arts and tourism in the area, which together are worth almost £1 billion to the economy.
Almost eight out of 10 live comedy venues could be forced to close within the next year without help, it has been warned, as the industry demands inclusion in the government’s cultural rescue plan.
The first UK-wide survey of the comedy industry suggests a serious threat to its ecosystem, with artists warning that they may have to leave the industry because of the pandemic and venues admitting that they could face closure if they are unable to access some of the £1.57 billion confirmed last week for the arts and heritage sectors.
The government has announced that VAT for theatres and circuses will be reduced from 20% to 5% until January 2021.
Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the VAT reduction for the hospitality and leisure sectors during his mini-budget on July 8, and culture secretary Oliver Dowden subsequently confirmed that theatres and circuses will be eligible, along with concerts, fairs, amusement parks, museums and cinemas.
Further details of when theatres will be able to reopen will be published imminently, the culture secretary has promised, as he says he wants arts organisations to open their doors “as rapidly as possible”.
Oliver Dowden said the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport had been “working flat out” to get sectors across arts and heritage back up and running following lockdown, as he faced questions from MPs about the details of the £1.57 billion investment package announced last week.
Former Royal Ballet dancer and peer Deborah Bull and Labour MP Chi Onwurah have urged the government to ensure that its emergency support package for culture does not damage diversity and inclusion.
As co-chairs of the all-party parliamentary group for creative diversity, Bull and Onwurah are asking Oliver Dowden to prioritise an “equitable distribution” of the £1.57 billion announced on Sunday.
Venues including Manchester’s Royal Exchange, the Lighthouse in Poole and Theatre Royal Plymouth have praised emergency funding from Arts Council England as an “absolute lifeline” that will help them to survive the summer.
The Arts Council announced the £33 million investment yesterday (July 7, 2020). It has been allocated to provide “critical relief” to 196 national portfolio organisations that faced financial disaster before September.
Arts Council England has said it will prioritise artists and individuals when it reopens its grant programme again this month, amid concerns the government’s billion-pound cultural investment package will not support freelancers.
ACE chief executive Darren Henley said the government had been clear its £1.57 billion funding will be based around protecting the UK’s cultural infrastructure, and promised the Arts Council was "urgently thinking" about how the arts’ freelance workforce can be helped.
Sadler’s Wells, Battersea Arts Centre, Manchester’s Royal Exchange and Theatre Royal Plymouth are among the arts organisations granted emergency funding to prevent them collapsing in the next three months.
Arts Council England has announced support for 196 of its 829 national portfolio organisations, with money given to those who have shown they are at most urgent risk.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House were among more than 500 buildings lit up in "emergency red" last night to draw attention to the critical condition of the live events industry.
It comes as suppliers membership body PLASA, which is supporting the campaign, warns that the entire live event production ecosystem could collapse by spring next year without extensions to the furlough and self-employed support schemes and capital grants.
The Theatre Support Fund has created a face mask to raise money for its campaign to help theatre workers in need during the pandemic.
Featuring the same design as the campaign’s T-shirts, The Show Must Go On masks are the latest products to be added to the fundraising effort.
Theatre figures and organisations are urging the government to ensure its support package reaches all areas of the industry, including freelancers and the independent sector.
The £1.57 billion government support package was announced last night, but full details of how it will be distributed are yet to be revealed.
Britain’s most prolific pantomime producer has warned of the grave impacts for theatres if the vital Christmas season is lost, appealing to government to provide clarity and guidance by this time next month.
Michael Harrison said the cancellation of pantomimes and other Christmas productions could devastate the wider industry, solidifying swathes of redundancies and impacting thousands of freelancers that depend on pantomime work, as well as cutting off life-saving income for theatres around the UK.
Restaurant owners have warned that central London is a "ghost town" while theatres remain shut, and that many business are at risk of closure due to the lack of footfall.
A letter signed by major hospitality businesses, including Soho House and D&D restaurants, calls on London mayor Sadiq Khan and prime minister Boris Johnson to take more action to encourage people into the centre of the city.
Nicholas Hytner has hailed the government’s £1.57 billion investment package in culture as "a much better plan than anyone expected", as the sector continues to welcome the news.
Equity’s general secretary Christine Payne also welcomed the announcement, but she too asked for more clarity about how the money will reach theatre workers impacted by the crisis.
Theatre and arts leaders have welcomed the government’s £1.57 billion cultural investment package, expressing relief that the sector is receiving much-needed support to help it survive the coronavirus crisis.
Among the first to respond to the announcement were National Theatre director Rufus Norris, playwright James Graham and composer and West End theatre owner Andrew Lloyd Webber, who described the emergency funding commitment as "truly welcome".
Theatre and the performing arts will have access to a £1.57 billion government investment package designed to help the culture and heritage sectors survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime minister Boris Johnson hailed the UK’s creative industries as "the heart of this country", as the government announced what it has billed as the “biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture”. Johnson said the package will ensure organisations can "stay afloat and support their staff" while they remain closed to audiences.
Outdoor theatres have called on the government to allow them to reopen, labelling it “ludicrous” that they cannot operate when pub gardens are due to reopen tomorrow.
Venues including the Minack Theatre in Cornwall and Brighton Open Air Theatre have said they are ready to safely welcome back audiences, and have called on the government to give them the green light to do so.
The Royal Albert Hall could be forced to shut permanently by March next year if it doesn’t receive urgent financial support, its boss has warned.
The venue is due to celebrate its 150th anniversary next year, but could be declared insolvent by early 2021 and forced to make widespread redundancies, chief executive Craig Hassall has said.
The Stage has begun redundancy consultations with staff as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
In a statement, it said the pandemic and ensuing lockdown had had a “devastating effect on our industry”.
“A high proportion of The Stage’s revenue is generated from recruitment advertising, which vanished overnight with the shutdown of theatres,” it said.
Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture has pushed its start date until May 2021, with organisers pledging to reimagine the programme in response to the challenges of the coronavirus crisis.
The city had been due to begin its tenure as UK City of Culture at the start of 2021, but will now kick off its programme from May.
Nuffield Southampton Theatres is to close permanently - making 86 staff redundant - after failing to secure a potential buyer to meet conditions set by stakeholders.
The theatre company went into administration in May, after falling into financial difficulty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Staff working for the Pavilion and Connaught theatres in Worthing are facing redundancy, as the trust behind them warns its venues may never reopen without action now.
Worthing Theatres and Museum said it was looking at having to make 19 of its 150 staff redundant, with a further 29 employees facing a temporary reduction in salary and working hours. It said the roles affected spanned all departments, but were largely public facing ones.
More than 100 local arts centres across the UK are appealing to the government for a range of measures they believe will help them kickstart the cultural sector after Covid-19.
Future Arts Centres, which represents a 100-strong network of cultural venues, is arguing that local arts organisations will be essential to the country’s post-Covid recovery and is calling on the government to recognise their social, cultural and economic role.
The Noël Coward Foundation has awarded £65,000 to help organisations including London’s Bush Theatre and Manchester’s Royal Exchange during the pandemic.
Other organisations that have benefitted include the Kiln Theatre in London, the Lowry in Salford, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, Theatre Peckham, Wise Children, Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, the Mono Box, Imaginate and Salisbury Playhouse.
The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester has announced it could have to make up to 65% of its permanent staff redundant, claiming it has been left with no other choice but to scale back the organisation.
"From the government’s recent announcements there is nothing on the table which gives us confidence or clarity to be able to restart any activities in the immediate future.
"As a direct result of this, and the dramatic loss of income associated with it, we have no other choice than to scale back the organisation and reduce our overheads in order to survive," it said.
A series of peaceful protests are being planned around the UK to highlight the lack of government support for the arts industry during the pandemic.
The events are being organised by Creative Performance Protest, an initiative to put pressure on the government for support, with the protests planned for July 11.
A £4 million emergency funding package has been announced for the arts in Northern Ireland, described by the communities minister as “a major lifeline” for the sector.
The surprise move, from the Department for Communities, follows mounting pressure from the arts sector for financial assistance in recent weeks, as restrictions on other areas of public life in Northern Ireland have begun to relax.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is facing increasing pressure to support theatre through the coronavirus crisis, as multiple MPs pressed him on the government’s responsibility to ensure the arts survive Covid-19.
During Prime Minister’s Questions, four MPs pushed Johnson on supporting theatres during the debate, during which he said he wants to get theatres open “as fast as we possibly can”.
More than 100 employees at Norwich Theatre are facing redundancy, as it warns that the “scale of ongoing financial loss is no longer sustainable”.
Norwich Theatre comprises three venues, including Norwich Theatre Royal, Norwich Playhouse and Stage Two. It currently employs 217 staff, but said 113 (52%) are facing redundancy, with a further 59 employed on zero-hour contracts being told they will no longer receive any work.
Ambassador Theatre Group is preparing to make a series of redundancies among its staff, which will affect 5% of its total UK workforce.
Redundancy consultations will be focused on staff in ATG’s head office rather than those who work in its 32 UK venues, which include 10 West End theatres and major regional houses.
It has also revealed plans to begin returning the remainder of its staff base to normal levels of pay, following company-wide salary reductions at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.
Circuses across the UK will be forced to close within weeks if the government does not allow them to reopen before the school summer holidays.
This is the warning of the Association of Circus Proprietors, which has criticised the government for failing to include circuses in the list of businesses that will be allowed to reopen on July 4.
Norwich Theatre Royal has become the latest venue to cancel its Christmas show this year, claiming the risks of staging it are too great.
Without a government support package approved, and in the face of "huge financial losses", the theatre said it is unable to commit to a large-scale production this year.
Designer Jon Bausor is releasing limited edition face masks using the artwork from The Grinning Man to raise money for charity. The masks are being released to coincide with Bristol Old Vic’s online streaming of Carl Grose’s musical.
They have been made by paid freelance costume makers who are out of work due to Covid-19 and printed free of charge by theatrical printers Prompt Side.
Women are disproportionately more likely to leave the arts industry as a result of the pandemic, campaign group Parents and Carers in Performing Arts has warned.
In its submission to a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee inquiry looking at how the pandemic will impact the creative industries, the body warns that the “loss of talent from the industry is a clear risk” and claims uncertainty and insecurity will “drive people to seek employment elsewhere”.
More than 40% of lighting professionals say they are not sure they will return to the industry following Covid-19.
The survey of 197 members of the Association of Lighting Designers also found 70% of lighting professionals say they will have to accept changes to their terms of employment after the coronavirus crisis, with half forecasting this will include lower pay, a poll has found.
MPs have called for an urgent financial support package for theatre during a debate in parliament, as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirms discussions with the treasury are ongoing.
The debate took place on June 25 in response to 11 petitions, all calling for more government support for sectors including the arts, events, childcare providers and aviation.
A five-step plan to reopen theatres has been branded meaningless and falls “woefully short”, industry leaders have claimed.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden’s plan features five ways he intends to get theatres reopened, including allowing open air performances and pilots for shows staged inside, but includes no timetable for making it happen.
Horsecross Arts, which runs Perth Theatre and Concert Hall, has begun redundancy consultations with three quarters of its 168 staff as a "painful last resort”.
It comes as both venues remain closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A five-step roadmap to get theatres reopened has been revealed by the culture secretary Oliver Dowden, who claims it provides a “clear pathway back”.
The plan includes allowing outdoor performances later this year, with a view to piloting indoor performances afterwards.
Discount ticketing booth TKTS is set to close, leaving more than 20 people facing job losses.
The TKTS booth is based in Leicester Square and offers tickets to shows at reduced prices.
Chairs of theatres and arts organisations from across the UK have signed an open letter urging people to lobby their MPs for support to prevent the sector collapsing, warning “tens of thousands of artistic careers” are at risk.
People who have signed the letter include Margaret Hodge, chair of Theatre Royal Stratford East, English National Opera chair Harry Brunjes, and Damon Buffini, chair of the National Theatre.
A fundraising campaign to protect the King’s Head Theatre in Islington has succeeded in reaching its £100,000 target, securing its immediate future.
The theatre’s campaign was backed by Mark Gatiss and Ian Hallard, and raised £120,000, including a £35,000 grant from Arts Council England.
The management team of the Lowry in Salford has pledged to support the venue’s 200-strong contracted employees during the coronavirus pandemic.
The theatre’s chief executive, Julia Fawcett, said the venue would launch a Lowry-funded job retention scheme from November 1, once the government’s own job retention scheme has come to an end.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden is under renewed pressure to announce a package to support theatre following news of redundancies at venues including Theatre Royal Plymouth.
This week, both the Plymouth theatre and Newcastle Theatre Royal announced redundancies as they battle with the impact of the pandemic on their businesses.
Almost half of Theatre Royal Newcastle’s staff are facing redundancy, as the venue deals with the “devastating” impact of the pandemic.
The theatre, which last week announced it would remain closed until November, said it would be making 44 of its 89 full and part-time staff redundant as it grapples with loss of income since closing in March along with the UK’s other theatres.
Judi Dench has warned that theatres that have been closed because of coronavirus may not reopen in her lifetime.
The actor was speaking to Channel 4 about the impact Covid-19 has had on the theatre industry, and said the sector needed a big cash injection to save it.
An investment of about £9 million is needed to save 100 Off-West End theatres, a report has claimed.
The figure has been calculated by OffWestEnd.com, which is urging the government for more support for smaller, independent theatres.
Some of the UK’s biggest theatres have ruled out reopening in July – despite being given the green light to do so – claiming the move would be economically damaging to their businesses.
Venues including Curve in Leicester, Birmingham Hippodrome, the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House have all said they will remain closed.
A "National Arts Force" of freelance workers in the culture sector should be set up in Scotland, according to an advisory group to the Scottish government on economic recovery from Covid-19.
The group, chaired by former head of Tesco Bank Benny Higgins, was established in April this year to provide expert advice on supporting the different regions and sectors of Scotland’s economy to recover from the impacts of Covid-19
Members of the public are sharing videos about how much they value the arts as part of a campaign for government support to save the sector post Covid-19.
The volunteer-led Public Campaign for the Arts is encouraging people across the UK to submit short videos to its website about how much the arts mean to them and to write to their MPs.
English National Opera is planning a socially distanced season of "stripped-back" productions, with every other row empty and audiences spaced with a two-seat gap between them.
Chief executive Stuart Murphy said reducing social distancing to 1-metre meant the venue could operate at about 48% capacity, which he said was workable with smaller productions on stage.
A set of free drama-based online learning resources have been created to help nursing students who are working during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The learning materials have been made through a partnership between Kingston University and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
English National Opera will have used up all its reserves by October and will be forced to consider redundancies if support is not offered, its chief executive has said.
Stuart Murphy warned that the performing arts would “transform beyond recognition” if the furlough scheme was withdrawn before venues could reopen, with ENO months away from having spent all its reserves on maintaining the organisation during the lockdown.
Actor Mark Rylance is among the supporters of a letter urging the government to put environmental sustainability at the centre of its cultural renewal strategy.
The letter was sent by green arts charity Julie’s Bicycle to culture secretary Oliver Dowden.
More than 100 jobs at Theatre Royal Plymouth are at risk, as the venue confirms it is beginning redundancy consultations.
The theatre said the redundancies could affect a third of its staff, and said its income had been reduced by 90% as result of the pandemic.
A new campaign is urging creative businesses to make a commitment to diversity and inclusion during recovery from the pandemic, as new data reveals the effect of Covid-19 on arts workers from under-represented communities.
Social enterprise Creative Access is behind the campaign, called #MoreThanWords.
Trafalgar Entertainment has become the latest West End operator to propose redundancies among its staff, as it confirms Trafalgar Studios is unlikely to reopen this year.
Olivier award-winning creatives including Bunny Christie, Vicki Mortimer and Katrina Lindsay have launched a group to support designers through Covid-19 and help theatres bring shows back into production.
#scenechange began as an email exchange between a group of set and costume designers, which also included Anna Fleischle, Lizzie Clachan, Soutra Gilmour, Madeleine Girling and Max Jones, but has now grown into a community of more than 700 members.
The arts in Britain stand "on the brink of ruin", Nicholas Hytner has said, as he called on the government to act now and save the sector.
The former National Theatre director, who now runs London’s Bridge Theatre, said help must be confirmed soon to avoid "wave on wave" of job losses and closures, and that without it, every part of the theatre ecology risks being damaged beyond repair.
Glyndebourne has announced plans to reopen for a series of open-air operas and concerts this summer, allowing audiences to return with social distancing measures in place.
The Sussex opera house was forced to cancel its 2020 festival due to the pandemic, but has now revealed plans to stage an opera outside for the first time, alongside an open-air concert programme, as a “creative, innovative path” through the crisis.
Oxford Playhouse has announced a series of cost-reduction measures as it battles to secure its future, including redundancy consultations.
Up to 20% of the theatre’s 50-strong contracted workforce could be affected by the job losses, with consultations beginning between the venue, staff and unions.
Almost two thirds of fringe theatregoers say they want to see extra protective measures – including on-site temperature tests – to entice them back to venues post-lockdown.
The finding is included in the results of a survey from OffWestEnd.com, which supports independent and fringe theatres in London. The survey was completed by more than 700 people
Andrew Lloyd Webber has revealed he has seen a piece of advice being considered by government that suggests singing may not be allowed in theatres in order for venues to reopen in a Covid-secure way.
The composer said he did not know whether these suggestions, which would prevent any musicals from reopening, would make the final guidance being drawn up around reopening. A report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on opening venues following lockdown is expected to be published next week.
Storyhouse in Chester could be among the first arts organisations in the country to reopen after lockdown, with plans to welcome the public back early next month.
Artistic director Alex Clifton said Storyhouse would restart some parts of its operation as soon as possible, despite many theatres planning on remaining closed to audiences for several months yet. He stressed that "not being able to produce isn’t the same as not being able to open".
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sharon D Clarke, Andrew Scott and Marianne Elliott are among nearly 100 theatre figures throwing their weight behind calls for the government to intervene and prevent the industry being destroyed by the coronavirus crisis.
Actors, writers, directors and designers nominated for this year’s Olivier Awards and winners of the 2019 UK Theatre Awards have signed a letter to Boris Johnson, culture secretary Oliver Dowden and chancellor Rishi Sunak, which makes clear the threat to the UK’s performing arts.
Newcastle Theatre Royal has announced that it will remain closed until the end of November.
The theatre, which closed in March due to coronavirus, confirmed "with a heavy heart" that it would not reopen for audiences until Christmas, with performances cancelled until November 24.
Britain’s creative industries are heading towards a "cultural catastrophe" as a result of the coronavirus crisis, research claims, with losses of £1.4 billion a week this year and more than 400,000 jobs also under threat.
It is leaving sectors such as theatre on the brink of devastation, according to the Creative Industries Federation.
The Irish Government has announced an additional €25 million to support the country’s arts and culture sector in its recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and culture minister Josepha Madigan confirmed a special financial package to assist the sector’s reopening as well as bursaries and commissions to help create new work.
Nearly 10,000 individuals and organisations have so far received emergency funding from Arts Council England to help survive the coronavirus crisis, it has been confirmed.
A total of £64.8 million has been distributed by ACE, in 9,666 different grants, as part of its response package announced in March.
Two of the creators of the immersive production of The Great Gatsby have developed a season of theatre that will be performed in people’s gardens and communities to help reignite live performance during the pandemic.
Writer and director Alexander Flanagan-Wright and musician Phil Grainger have created a series of five projects that they will take to communities around Yorkshire as a "new way of telling stories" and to help combat loneliness during lockdown.
Wales Millennium Centre will not reopen again this year, it has confirmed, a move that will affect up to 250 roles at the organisation.
The Cardiff venue will not open its doors to audiences again until at least January 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but may be forced to stay closed until April next year, prompting losses of £20 million.
Shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens has warned the government that “time is rapidly running out” in the fight to save theatre from collapse.
Stevens said the sector needed “clear and urgent reassurance” that help was coming, and pressed culture secretary Oliver Dowden to be more transparent about his conversations with the Treasury about a support package.
Culture minister Caroline Dinenage has said she is "continually challenging" the government on whether the two-metre social distancing rule is necessary for theatres.
Dinenage has been chairing meetings of the Entertainment and Events Working Group, part of the government’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce, which is exploring how to rebuild the arts sectors post Covid-19.
The arts and entertainment industry is being hit harder by Covid-19 than almost any other sector in the British economy, according to research by the Office for National Statistics.
More businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry reported that they are temporarily closed, while the sector also reported the highest number of businesses witnessing a turnover decrease of more than 50%. The industry is the joint highest adopter of the furlough scheme, the ONS data suggests.
A group of Norfolk and Suffolk-based performance venues have predicted a collective loss of more than £10 million due to Covid-19 by the end of September.
The 19 venues, which include New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, Norwich Theatre Royal and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, are calling on the government to provide specific financial support for the sector.
An initiative to take live performance to isolated care-home residents has been launched by opera-ballet company Constella.
The company, which specialises in interdisciplinary performance, has drawn up plans to offer one-to-one virtual concerts to older people who are isolated from their families and support networks.
Students from 19 university drama societies will take part in a new fundraising campaign to help save theatres across the UK.
The five-week campaign, called Students Saving Our Theatres, has been organised by three members of the University of Warwick’s drama society. Universities in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Coventry, Durham, East Anglia, Edinburgh, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford, Sheffield, St Andrews, Surrey, Swansea and York are also taking part.
Redundancies are being planned at Cameron Mackintosh’s theatre companies, with the impresario beginning consultations with staff over job cuts.
The planned redundancies put the companies - Delfont Mackintosh Theatres and Cameron Mackintosh Ltd – among the highest-profile theatre organisations yet to implement plans, following the National Theatre’s warning it is looking at reducing its own staff base by about 30%.
BECTU has warned the redundancies could be “catastrophic” for theatre.
More than 150 MPs and peers have joined the push for government to safeguard the theatre industry throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
In a letter sent to prime minister Boris Johnson today (June 11), 158 MPs and peers demanded action immediately, "to rescue the sector and allow theatre to contribute to the success of the UK".
Westminster City Council has been called upon to devise an urgent strategy to save West End theatres from the “crippling” effects of Covid-19.
The call has been made by Westminster Labour and urges the council to develop a plan for the sector, which it warns is at risk of collapse.
A charity helping performers who suffer financial hardship has received a boost of £850,000 from Arts Council England, and is urging professionals affected by Covid-19 to apply for support.
The Equity Charitable Trust was formed as an independent charity by Equity in 1989. The charity said it was currently handling about 50 applications a week, whereas it used to handle about 40 every two months before the pandemic.
More than 100 disabled artists and cultural leaders are warning of the increased impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their livelihoods, and are calling for the protection of disability arts as the industry recovers from the current crisis.
Andrew Miller, the government disability champion for arts and culture, theatre directors Jenny Sealey and Amit Sharma and actors Mat Fraser and Nabil Shaban are among 140 people demanding that government safeguards the future of disability arts in the UK.
Arts organisations from across the West Midlands, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, are coming together for a free one-day festival to celebrate the region’s culture.
It is the first event hosted by the West Midlands Culture Response Unit, which was set up to help the area’s arts companies and venues develop a coordinated response to Covid-19.
Government support for theatres needs to be secured as soon as possible or the industry could face many more redundancies and venue closures, Julian Bird has warned.
The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre chief executive said the sector was “at the start of a very worrying time”, as major organisations prepare for job losses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Theatre by the Lake is being forced to make staff redundancies to ensure its survival post Covid-19, following the announcement that the government is phasing out its furlough scheme.
The Keswick venue has said it will continue to maintain and manage the theatre with a smaller team, who will plan for a reopening in the future.
A theatre company launched shortly before the UK went into lockdown has revealed new plans to develop productions that can thrive in an “intra-Covid world”.
London-based Histrionic Productions was set up earlier this year, with the aim of using derelict spaces to create “multi-sensory theatrical experiences”, promising a new approach to immersive theatremaking.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has vowed to protect the arts from being “destroyed" in his first newspaper interview in the role.
However, he has also warned that institutions will be asked to make “very difficult decisions”.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Dowden said he is currently in "intricate discussions" with the treasury to negotiate a scheme to keep the cultural sector from bankruptcy. According to the interview, the deal is almost done.
LW Theatres, the Young Vic, and Selladoor Worldwide are among the latest theatre organisations to warn of the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry, detailing multimillion-pound losses and an increasingly urgent need for clarity from government.
A newly released set of submissions to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on the arts also include renewed pleas from the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre for a government support package, as they want that “clear decisions” must be taken “no later than early July if we are to prevent the terminal decline of this world-leading sector”.
Almost 50% of permanent staff at the Birmingham Hippodrome are facing redundancy as the venue attempts to survive the pandemic, it has emerged.
The news comes as the scale of the damage caused by theatres going dark in March becomes clearer, with widespread warnings of permanent closures and redundancies.
Nottingham Playhouse’s preparations to reopen for audiences following the Covid-19 pandemic will be covered by BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.
The programme will follow Nottingham Playhouse for the next six months as it attempts to weather the impacts of coronavirus and prepares to open to audiences again.
The government’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce has been criticised for failing to achieve gender balance among its members, in an open letter signed by Equity president Maureen Beattie and Sphinx Theatre artistic director Sue Parrish.
Playwright and doctor Serena Haywood has launched a new podcast featuring the dramatised stories of people working at her hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The weekly six-part podcast, Unmasked, is an artistic response to the coronavirus crisis that will focus on members of staff at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London.
A poll of theatre employers has revealed that three quarters may be forced to make furloughed staff redundant because of planned changes to the job retention scheme.
Ninety representatives from across the industry, including major theatre employers, answered a series of questions posed by BECTU about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their future operations.
A £500,000 emergency programme for cultural organisations in Northern Ireland affected by Covid-19 has been opened by the country’s arts council.
Small and medium-scale organisations are eligible to apply to the Organisations Emergency Programme, with grants of up to £25,000 on offer.
An immersive production of The Great Gatsby has unveiled plans to reopen in October with social distancing in place.
Actors and audiences will wear face coverings throughout the show, which has been reimagined as a 1920s masquerade ball.
Theatre leaders have warned that the phasing out of the government’s furlough scheme will see the industry “destroyed”, leading to mass redundancies and closures.
Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak confirmed last week that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has allowed businesses to claim up to 80% of wages for employees who are put on paid leave, will finish at the end of October.
The Royal Shakespeare Company has said it hopes to reopen its main theatre in the autumn with shows rescheduled from earlier in the year, as it pushes its planned winter season until 2021.
In line with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the RSC has postponed all events and planned performances for the remainder of its summer season, meaning it will stay closed until October at the earliest. It has also postponed the productions planned for the autumn/winter season and cancelled its annual residency at London’s Barbican.
Pretty Woman star Aimie Atkinson has helped raise more than £10,900 for charity with a 24-hour musical-athon in aid of Save the Children’s Coronavirus Appeal.
Alongside agent Tom Gribby, she sang along to tracks from shows including Six, Wicked and Pretty Woman.
More than £125,000 has so far been raised by the sale of specially designed ‘The Show Must Go On’ T-shirts, with more than 7,500 orders placed in the first four weeks.
The T-shirts have been on sale alongside other items, including mugs and badges, and were the brainchild of Damien Stanton and Chris Marcus, who created them under the Theatre Support Fund banner.
Around 30 theatres are considering making staff redundancies as they fight for survival in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, a union has warned.
BECTU, the union representing backstage and front-of-house workers, said it is aware of many organisations needing to cut staff costs in order to weather the effects of the crisis.
Actors including Pearl Mackie and Alice Fearn feature as part of an online support hub set up to help drama school graduates bridge the gap to working in the industry.
Help Hub has been set up by actors Olivia Beardsley and Isaac Stanmore, who are also behind Showcase 2020, which is an initiative to showcase drama school graduates who missed out on their final-year performances due to the coronavirus.
Producers of touring shows will have the option to designate up to a third of a contract as unpaid ‘weeks out’, under which performers will be able to accept other work, as part of a new agreement created specially to navigate the pandemic.
The ‘weeks out’ clause is one of a number of variations being made to UK Theatre’s commercial agreement with Equity, which covers tours and other productions outside of the West End. Other changes include extending the definition of force majeure, to protect producers against cancellations.
The body representing the creative industries has joined forces with its respective organisations in hospitality and heritage to call for additional government support for sectors that will be the last to reopen after lockdown.
The Creative Industries Federation, UKHospitality and the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions are making a united plea for businesses and individuals unable to resume work as quickly as other areas of society.
Ambassador Theatre Group’s ticketing arm has been heavily criticised by consumers for a “lack of transparency” around refunds for cancelled shows.
The organisation has been accused of long delays getting money back to customers, and for failing actively to inform them how they can obtain a refund instead of a credit voucher.
HighTide has announced the 12 writers chosen as part of a special programme to support playwrights during the coronavirus crisis.
Travis Alabanza, Jack Bradfield, Sophie Ellerby and Kelly Jones are among the writers taking part in the Playwright Crisis Support Programme, which will offer bespoke training and mentorship from playwrights such as Nick Payne, Vinay Patel and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm.
More than 50 independent, fringe and pub theatres have written to the government asking for financial support to see them through the Covid-19 pandemic, arguing that their loss would be a "disaster for the cultural life of the nation".
They are warning that they stand to lose £14 million between March and September this year as a result of lockdown, and are appealing for government to recognise their contribution as the "engine room" of British theatre.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is using the London Palladium as a "test bed" to develop methods that could make theatres safe for audiences to return to.
Lloyd Webber’s LW Theatres, which owns the West End landmark along with six other venues in the capital, is in the early stages of experimenting with technology, including infrared temperature scanners, to find "positive, proactive ways to get going again" after lockdown.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under renewed pressure to extend a funding scheme for employed and freelance workers, with creative industry unions warning entertainment workers face a “financial cliff edge” without it.
The unions’ call comes as a group of peers from the House of Lords also asks the government to provide more support for the self-employed working in the sector.
More than 60 black, Asian and ethnically diverse arts leaders, including Roy Alexander Weise, Nadia Fall and Lynette Linton, have written an open letter to the government, urging it to ensure diversity progress in the sector does not "fall to the wayside" due to Covid-19.
Rural touring could be the key to restarting the theatre industry, but it will need investment and support to do so, its membership body has argued.
The National Rural Touring Forum said the combination of hyper-local audiences, smaller budgets and flexible settings mean shows in village halls, pubs and libraries could help rebuild audience confidence ahead of larger venues reopening.
As the industry ramps up its campaign to pressure the government for support to prevent the industry from collapse, Matthew Hemley, Georgia Snow and Giverny Masso round up leaders’ pleas
Selladoor Worldwide has announced the postponement of the majority of its productions until 2021 and extended the closure of its three venues until November.
The world tour of Footloose the Musical, which had been due to open at New Wimbledon Theatre in April, will now open at the earliest in Zurich Maag Music Hall in Switzerland in November 2020, with UK dates commencing from January 2021.
Bring It On the Musical, which was due to open in June at the Birmingham Hippodrome, has been suspended until Autumn 2021, while the UK tour of 9 to 5, which was due to open in May 2020 at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, has been pushed back until Spring 2021.
The Black British Theatre Awards has announced four new categories for 2020 – including an accolade for best use of innovation and technology.
Other new categories include a casting director recognition award and a LGBTQ+ champion prize, to recognise an individual or group that has contributed to awareness of the LGBTQ+ community in theatre.
More than three quarters of musicians working in West End theatres will face financial hardship by September if venues have not reopened, with more than half ineligible for the government’s self-employed support scheme, a survey has revealed.
The Musicians’ Union polled more than 180 musicians engaged on a UK theatre show when venues closed on March 16.
Former students of the master’s degree taught at Shakespeare’s Globe have organised a 48-hour reading event to raise money for the theatre, which has warned it is on the brink of collapse.
Set up by a group of former Shakespeare Studies MA students, Read for the Globe will comprise non-stop online readings of Shakespeare plays over the course of 48 hours on May 24 and 25.
More than 70% of venues will run out of money by the end of this year, the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre has warned, as the organisations stressed the need to find an "alternative model to social distancing".
The sector bodies have welcomed the creation of the government’s taskforce for cultural renewal, which includes English National Ballet’s Tamara Rojo and Arts Council England chair Nicholas Serota.
Theatre leaders including Sonia Friedman, Vicky Featherstone and Julian Bird are leading a co-ordinated effort to pressure the government for immediate support to prevent the industry from imminent collapse.
Arts leaders have taken to newspapers, radio programmes and television shows to ensure the severity of the situation facing theatre is understood, with the government under increased and intense pressure to step in now to save it from “complete obliteration”.
Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre has warned it will run out of money by November unless it starts making redundancies now, as it confirms the venue will be dark until 2021.
It said Scottish government indications that social distancing measures would remain until the end of the year at the earliest leave it facing an extended period without the opportunity to earn income.
A collective of East and South East Asian artists are to present a digital performance project in response to a surge in hate crime during the Covid-19 crisis.
Supported by Arts Council England’s emergency fund, WeRNotVirus includes 10 newly commissioned stories delivered across art forms including film, poetry, dance and song exploring themes of race and identity.
Arts organisations in Wales are losing an estimated £1.4 million a week, leaving the sector "on its knees", the chief executive of the country’s arts council has said.
Nick Capaldi said the venues and companies supported by the Arts Council of Wales are rapidly losing significant sums in earned income while the industry is at a standstill, with major organisations like the Wales Millennium Centre heading towards an annual loss of £20 million.
Backstage staff from the Tina Turner musical have criticised its management for refusing to furlough them so they could be supported financially, claiming they are among the only West End workers not to have been put on the scheme.
Theatre workers’ biggest concern relating to Covid-19 is that the government furlough scheme will end many months before venues are allowed to reopen, a consultation from entertainment union BECTU has found.
During the consultation theatre workers and employers shared their concerns about going back to work following the pandemic using interactive online tool ThoughtExchange, which allows individuals to share ideas anonymously for other participants to rate.
Reading Fringe Festival is moving its 2020 event online after receiving emergency funding from Arts Council England.
More than 30 events will be streamed across the 10-day festival in July, with the full programme announced next month.
Disabled people working across the creative industries have formed a new alliance to campaign for "an inclusive cultural recovery" following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Founding organisations of the emergency campaign, which uses the hashtag #WeShallNotBeRemoved, include Graeae Theatre, Candoco Dance, Drake Music, Hijinx Theatre and Touretteshero.
Shakespeare’s Globe has warned that it will not survive the Covid-19 pandemic without at least £5 million of support. The Bankside theatre, which does not receive regular funding, said it had been unsuccessful in applying for a relief grant from Arts Council England, meaning it has so far been left with no emergency support to weather the crisis.
Theatres and industry bodies have outlined the “colossal” damage facing the sector – with the strongest warnings yet of widespread venue closures and the huge financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic – in the first tranche of responses to a government inquiry.
The submissions outline the severity of the situation facing theatre and the performing arts, with respondents including Shakespeare’s Globe, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and Really Useful Group warning of “catastrophic” consequences for the theatre industry well into 2021.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has urged the government to look to South Korea’s track and trace approach when thinking about how audiences could return to venues.
The impresario has written to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport warning that implementing two-metre distance is not possible for theatres as he suggests the tactics employed by South Korea could offer "the beginning of a road map back to socially distanced live entertainment".
TV dramas will be able to resume filming during the pandemic after new guidelines were created to ensure the safety of cast and crew, which specify social distancing must be kept in place on sets.
The guidance has been agreed jointly by a range of broadcasters and industry bodies including ITV, BBC, Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5, and Pact.
See Tickets has launched contactless technology that will allow audiences to access shows without interacting directly with staff.
The “contactless access control” system means audiences will be able to scan tickets using standalone scanning points, which the company said “requires no contact from staff or customers and triggers instant and clear results”.
A fundraising appeal has been launched to save an iconic West End pub opposite the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
One of the oldest pubs in Covent Garden, the Nell of Old Drury has "long associations with London’s literary and theatrical community".
Suppliers to the live events industry are calling on the government to recognise the specific challenges faced by its sector during the Covid-19 crisis, and have published a 10-point plan urging it to help.
The plan warns that compulsory social distancing will make it impossible for the entire live events industry to resume in a financially viable way; it proposes that any two-metre guidance should be advisory and carried out alongside face covering and hygiene measures.
Half of arts workers responding to a new BECTU survey say they have been forced to borrow money during the Covid-19 crisis.
The survey of nearly 3,000 participants asked which measures they were taking to survive the lockdown period.
About 40% of regular arts audiences would not consider booking tickets again for at least four months, despite saying they are missing live performance during lockdown, according to a new survey.
More than 86,000 people who frequently or have recently attended shows at venues across the UK were polled about their attitudes towards theatregoing after the Covid-19 lockdown. The findings confirm fears that audiences may be cautious to return to previous attendance habits.
A multimedia theatre platform has been launched to bring together listings for more than 1,000 digital theatre shows, as well as resources including podcasts and artist talks.
Entrepreneur and theatre fan Tyler Stoops created the platform Thespie to help people stay connected with theatre during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Liverpool’s Unity Theatre has released details of an emergency response programme it has developed for artists, designed to support theatremakers throughout and after lockdown.
OffWestEnd has announced new awards for theatre that will be presented online during the coronavirus pandemic.
The OnComms - which stand for online commendations - will celebrate independent, alternative and fringe theatre from organisations across the UK.
Mark Gatiss has thrown his support behind a campaign to save north London pub theatre the King’s Head from closure, warning it would be a tragedy if the venue were to close. Gatiss lives in Islington, where the venue is based, and has spoken out in support of the theatre, alongside his husband, actor Ian Hallard.
As reported by The Stage last month, the venue has launched a £100,000 fundraising campaign to ensure it can survive the pandemic
Theatre and its survival during the pandemic was discussed for the first time at the daily Downing Street briefing this week, with communities secretary Robert Jenrick admitting the government was “very concerned for for the future” of the sector.
The Space in London has launched an online theatre club and a programme of digital events to support new writers.
Eight playwrights have been commissioned to write duologues for an online festival, called 2.0 Fest, which will take place on July 31 and August 1.
One Dance UK is moving its youth dance festival online for 2020, offering masterclasses, careers advice and performances digitally for the first time.
One Dance UK, which is the sector support organisation for dance, said it hopes to reach more young people than ever before by delivering the three-day festival online.
A playwrighting prize offered by WhatsOnStage and the Turbine Theatre in London inviting writers to respond to the pandemic has been pulled, following a backlash from writers.
Leading artistic directors are warning that their theatres may only be able to survive until the autumn without a government bailout, with London’s Old Vic admitting it is in a “seriously perilous” position as a result of its ongoing closure.
Matthew Warchus, the Old Vic’s artistic director, told the Guardian that the Covid-19 crisis has left his theatre, which is unfunded, with “a small number of months” to last on existing reserves.
Theatre website WhatsOnStage has teamed up with the Turbine Theatre in London to launch a new playwriting award.
Open to anyone over 18, the Lockdown Playwriting Prize is seeking submissions of between 60 and 90 minutes in length, with casts of no more than six actors, that respond to the pandemic.
Theatres and artists in Scotland are eligible for training in how to adapt their programmes to the digital landscape, under plans by Creative Scotland.
The funding body has launched a dedicated programme, for both creative organisations an
A petition to save Nuffield Southampton Theatres has received nearly 4,000 signatures in one day, as it emerges Arts Council England has ring fenced £1.9 million to “reimagine” culture in the city.
Started by casting director Annelie Powell, the Change.org petition calls on Southampton City Council to ensure that NST is "preserved for the future of the city".
London’s Old Vic has unveiled a programme of audience engagement work, which will be delivered online while its building is closed.
Titled Your Old Vic, it includes archive recordings of shows, a digital education hub for young people, supported by Matt Smith and Claire Foy, moving its youth employment and training scheme online and setting up a pen-pal scheme for over 60s and primary school children.
Theatres are likely to be among the last parts of society to resume operations again after the Covid-19 lockdown, new government guidance has confirmed, as it lays out plans for sector-specific taskforces to explore how premises can be made "Covid-19 secure".
While theatre is not specifically referenced in the 50-page document published by the government today (May 11), the "roadmap" is the first indication of how Britain’s coronavirus restrictions will be lifted over the coming months, and includes details on the leisure and hospitality sectors.
An all-boys ballet school in London has announced plans to train young male dancers worldwide, with the launch of an online teaching platform to allow it to continue teaching during the lockdown.
The London Boys Ballet School said students had already enrolled in its remote-learning programme from countries including Malaysia, South Africa, the US, China, the Philippines and New Zealand.
The number of people in the UK who are watching theatre online is growing as the coronavirus pandemic continues, new research has found, with one in five of those accessing digital arts content during lockdown doing so for the first time.
Nearly 20% of adults are now watching theatre, dance or music performances digitally, a nationwide audience survey has revealed.
This year’s cohort of theatre graduates will be able to access tailored mental health and industry support as they launch their careers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to a new initiative.
The 2020 Graduate Support Programme has been set up by mental health organisation Industry Minds, which began as a podcast before expanding into a wider well-being service providing low-cost counselling to people in the arts.
The Royal and Derngate in Northampton has launched an emergency fundraising appeal to secure its future, as it remains closed due to Covid-19.
The theatre is asking audiences to make advance bookings for its pantomime or other shows later this year, become annual members or donate to protect it against the "devastating impact" of coronavirus.
Opera company Glyndebourne has cancelled its 2020 summer season, as it launches an emergency fundraising appeal to secure its long-term future.
The company said it had made the decision “with a very heavy heart” to cancel the summer season, which had been due to begin on July 14, and warned the loss of the event would be “devastating” for its seasonal staff and artists.
Arts Council England has warned that it will be unable to support individuals and organisations through an extended period of lockdown, as it admits that the hardest work is yet to come.
In a blog, ACE chief executive Darren Henley revealed that more than 14,000 applications were made for its first two emergency funds – for individual artists, and for organisations outside its regularly funded portfolio.
A consultation into how the theatre industry can return to work following the Covid-19 lockdown has been launched by entertainment union BECTU.
Theatre workers and employers are being invited by the union to share their views and concerns around going back to work using interactive online tool ThoughtExchange. The tool allows individuals to anonymously share an idea, which other participants will be able to rate out of five.
Producers are exploring ways to protect themselves against the possibility of another industry-wide shutdown caused by coronavirus, with experts predicting changes to the way contracts are drawn up in future.
While the industry is still coming to terms with the immediate effects of enforced theatre closures – now in their eighth week – the question of whether lockdown could return in future is causing a “paralysing uncertainty”, which some of the country’s leading specialist lawyers anticipate could impact producers’ agreements with venues, performers and creative teams.
Playwrights Tanika Gupta and Simon Stephens will feature in a series of free webinars announced by theatre company Wildcard.
The webinars form part of a six-month digital programme announced by the company to support artists during the Covid-19 crisis, including workshops from Electrolyte director Donnacadh O’Briain.
One in five musicians fear they will have to abandon their career due to the financial impact of Covid-19, according to new research from the Musicians’ Union.
The survey of 1,459 MU members also found that two in five (38%) of respondents are not eligible for the government’s financial assistance schemes.
West End theatres will now be closed until at least June 28 as the coronavirus crisis continues, it has been confirmed.
The Society of London Theatre has issued an extension to London’s venue closures, which will see performances suspended for at least three months.
Helen Mirren, Christopher Biggins and Miranda Hart are among those donating prizes for a silent auction to raise money to support the theatre community through the Covid-19 pandemic.
People will be able to bid for personalised video messages, virtual coffee chats, one-to-one masterclasses and signed memorabilia.
The West End transfer of Sunday in the Park with George, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, has been postponed until 2021. Also starring Annaleigh Ashford, the production was due to run at the Savoy Theatre from June 11 to September 5.
Casting directors are urging the television and film industries to safeguard the future of the UK’s theatre talent, arguing that it is facing "its greatest existential threat in a generation".
The Casting Directors’ Guild committee argues that stage talent is "endlessly drawn on by screen media", which continue to reap the benefits of theatre’s "innovation and industry".
Theatre company Part of the Main, which was set up to provide opportunities and support for women, trans and non-binary artists in the UK, is behind the virtual workshops.
The workshops, which are open to anyone, fall under the company’s Part of the Grid initiative, originally launched in 2018 to provide theatre tech, design and producing training.
The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre is collaborating with Simon Stephens on a playwriting project for the children of keyworkers in its local area, in partnership with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
Teachers are being encouraged to sign up to the project, which will provide a bespoke pack of digital resources each week to “encourage curiosity, unlock the imagination and develop creative writing skills”.
Artists due to take shows to this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe are struggling to get accommodation deposits refunded, with some branding it "ridiculous" that companies and landlords are holding on to fees despite the event’s cancellation.
Scala Radio has announced a new series devoted to musical theatre, exploring the history and future of the genre and its leading figures. The four-part series will begin on May 10 and will be hosted by Jamie Crick, who already hosts a weekly show on the classical music station.
Sixteen West End musicals have joined together to help create a charity T-shirt, with the proceeds going towards supporting the theatre community through the coronavirus pandemic.
The £14 T-shirt, which reads “The Show Must Go On”, features branding from major West End shows including Hamilton, Les Misérables, Wicked, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Come from Away.
Trafalgar Studios has been granted planning permission to convert its two performance spaces into a single 630-seat auditorium.
The venue currently consists of a main space with 380 seats and a second 100-capacity studio space, which will cease to exist following the renovation.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh has said he fears theatres will not be able to stage large-scale musicals until early next year, unless the government announces plans to lift the lockdown within the next few weeks.
Matthew Bourne has spoken of the “devastating impact” the pandemic has had on dancers, stage management and crew who had worked for his company New Adventures, as he confirms the entire tour of The Red Shoes has been cancelled.
Bourne took to Instagram to confirm the national and international tour of the show had been cancelled. It had been due to finish in the UK in June, and would have continued into October in Asia.
Theatres failing to provide good-quality subtitles when they stream performances are further isolating D/deaf audiences during lockdown, a charity has warned, as it urges companies to consider how accessible their online work is.
An online library of recordings of more than 100 monologues performed by actors including Derek Jacobi, Sheila Atim and Denise Gough has been launched by the Mono Box.
Training organisation the Mono Box, which is an associate company of Hampstead Theatre, has created the Monologue Library as a free resource during the Covid-19 pandemic for artists and theatre fans.