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24 June 2020, 17:29
For many working in the performing arts sector, the past three months have been a period of desperate financial uncertainty. Now, there’s growing concern that some theatres won’t make it.
In desperate times for the arts world, writers, actors, musicians and theatre-lovers are taking to Twitter to make themselves heard.
The social platform is telling of mass redundancies, theatres closing until 2021, and the catastrophic impact of allowing venues to reopen – but banning live performances. Here are just some of the realities facing the industry.
This week, an inside source on the West End’s Phantom of the Opera whispered that the entire cast, along with front-of-house staff, stage hands and the orchestra, had been let go by producer Cameron Mackintosh – so John Barrowman spoke out.
If it’s true, It’s a disgusting way to treat the performers in the show who slog it out 8 times a week and have made the producers very wealthy over the years. Jb https://t.co/RmXM8Hxnfk— John Barrowman MBE (@JohnBarrowman) June 20, 2020
Writer James Graham warned “our world-beating cultural landscape is in collapse” as he revealed 100 staff at the Theatre Royal Plymouth would be made redundant. The venue has been in dire straits since losing 91 percent of its income during lockdown.
The entire artistic team at the Theatre Royal Plymouth are being made redundant in 3 days. That’s one of the largest, most well attended theatres outside London. A theatre that now has no artists, and they won’t be coming back. Our world-beating cultural landscape is in collapse pic.twitter.com/SOxzz26sxd— James Graham (@mrJamesGraham) June 23, 2020
The Birmingham Hippodrome, which houses touring West End shows and is the home stage of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, faces having to make 60 of its 130 full-time staff redundant. A travesty for our Midlands arts landscape.
Bad news for the arts in Wales as Cardiff’s Millennium Centre announces its closure until 2021. 85 permanent staff members are reported to be at risk of redundancy.
This is yet more bad news for the workers, for the artists, for the people of Cardiff and South Wales and for the future of the arts in general.— Socialist Opera Singer (@OperaSocialist) June 12, 2020
Wales Millennium Centre closed until 2021 with 250 jobs set to go.
My industry is in a perilous place. https://t.co/5bDj76XJoO
There’s been plenty of focus on the West End. But ‘what about regional theatres?’, many are crying.
Regional theatre is fighting for its life... call it regional, national, whatever... the city and town producing theatres outside London which have, since 1945, served their communities with heart, thought, participation and soul stand now in desperate peril. https://t.co/UQu5CGYQJo— David Greig (@DavieGreig) June 23, 2020
The actor reminds us that the creative industries are one of the UK’s biggest success stories.
Many are also warning that social distancing in theatres will not be workable.
Are music halls and theatres being treated differently to other social venues?
"Theatres and concert halls will be also be able to reopen – but they cannot host live performances, because of concerns including the risk that singing transmits the virus.”— Daniel Friar (@dannyboyfriar) June 23, 2020
...yet you can talk and shout all you want in a pub, supermarket or restaurant.
Educate me. If theatres and cinemas are allowed to open, but NOT for live performance (presumably for reasons of droplet transmission from the cast) could a play not happen behind a Perspex shield for instance?— Adam Kay (@amateuradam) June 24, 2020
Hear me out! Open theatre bars & auditoriums at 6pm on Saturday night, 7:30pm we play the shows soundtrack. Throughout the night the cast & FOH team can make/serve drinks. Have pics with the cast, selfie onstage, buy merch, tip cast/FOH. Move from show to show. All done safely.— Philip Joel (@PhilipJoel) June 24, 2020