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.
A question from a member of the public asked how the government planned to support theatre. Jenrick - who was giving the briefing on May 13 - responded that the government was concerned and that culture secretary Oliver Dowden was working with arts organisations to “guide them through” this time.
He also said theatres would be expected to put in place social distancing measures when they can reopen.
“All of us who care about the arts are very concerned for the future of theatres and museums and galleries, the performing arts, and all of those who work in this sector, which is incredibly important to the UK - one of our great international strengths and something that is important for our well-being as well as our country,” he said.
He highlighted how financial support is available through both the furloughing scheme and a self-employed support scheme.
He added: “The culture secretary is working very closely with our main cultural institutions to see how we can guide them through undoubtedly a very difficult period of time and put in place the social distancing guidelines, so that they are ready to reopen when the science and medical opinion allows.”
He said he hoped this would be “later this summer” but warned this “is very conditional on continuing to keep the rate of infection down and continuing to control the virus”.