More than a third of people working in live comedy claim they would need to consider their future in the sector if the lockdown continues for another three months, according to a new poll.
The survey was completed by 140 comedians, promoters, agents and others involved in the live comedy sector. Participants included Live Nation, as well as individuals including Arthur Smith and Charmian Hughes.
It was carried out by the Big Difference Company, which produces the Leicester Comedy Festival and found that, collectively, participants felt they had lost £3 million in income at the time of asking.
According to the survey, 29% of respondents said they could survive for six more months before they would have to consider their future in the sector, while 35% said they would have to consider their future if the situation went on for as little as three more months.
More than half said they had not received any government support, with just 15% securing some financial support.
More than a third (37%) of respondents said they would be able to return to work, even though the impact will be significant on their businesses.
Of the 140 responses, 69% were comedians/performers, 18% were promoters and 4% agents/managers.
Leicester Comedy Festival founding director Geoff Rowe said: “As a sector we don’t have a professional membership association, or anything similar, to speak on behalf of us all. This does make it very difficult for the government to contact us collectively, or even view us as a significant sector.
"We know Leicester Comedy Festival has an economic impact of over £3 million each year, so if we combined the economic impact of the 140 businesses who have taken part in our survey, it would be massive.”
Hughes said she had been “massively impacted upon by the current situation”, including having international shows cancelled mid-tour and losing all her UK gigs.
“But this also affects promoters, agencies and venues. So while I think the sector will bounce back at some point depending on how long social distancing will be kept in place, I do think the very nature of live comedy could change more than anyone has imagined,” she added.