December 2021

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08 December - Performers must ‘play their part’ and get vaccinated – Equity

Performers should “play their part” in stopping the spread of coronavirus by getting fully vaccinated, while producers and venues must “up the ante” on enforcing mask wearing, Equity has urged.

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08 December - Pantomime returns to Aylesbury's Waterside Theatre

Pantomime is back. But Covid is still here. How are this year’s productions balancing restrictions with the joy of the return of a much-loved Christmas tradition?

Last year, with many theatres closed and Covid restrictions often changing, the answer to “is the pantomime on this year?” changed from “oh yes, it is” to “oh no, it isn’t” on a regular basis.

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08 December - Stricter Covid rules are our best hope to keep theatres open

As Christmas Carols pop up on stages around the country, it feels as if the UK theatre sector is being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past.

This time last year, the UK emerged from lockdown and theatres tentatively reopened, only for some to find themselves shut back down by a mixture of cast and crew illness and stricter government regulations. Soon after, all theatres closed again as the country returned to full lockdown on January 6.

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07 December - Discounted theatre tickets on offer to support West End recovery

Tickets to some of London’s biggest theatre shows will be on offer at a discounted price in the new year as part of an effort to attract visitors back to the West End.

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07 December - Wales' creative curriculum project extended in £6.8m funding boost

A project to put creativity at the heart of Wales’ curriculum has been extended for three further years, as part of a multimillion-pound package to support arts in schools.

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06 December - Moulin Rouge! flies in US talent to cover sick UK cast

Producers of Moulin Rouge! The Musical are flying a performer from the US to the UK, to help cover roles played by cast members who have caught Covid.

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06 December - An atmosphere of threat lingers over the arts - and it’s created by the government

A sign of a functioning society is its artists being free to create work that pushes against prevailing political tides

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06 December - Theatres report refund requests following mask mandates

Major theatres have reported audiences requesting refunds after issuing mandates last week that face coverings must be worn inside their venues.

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06 December - Michael Sheen turns himself into a 'not-for-profit' actor

Michael Sheen said he has turned himself into a “not-for-profit actor”.

The Welsh actor and activist sold his houses to ensure the 2019 Homeless World Cup went ahead in Cardiff.

Now the Hollywood star has pledged to carry on using the money he earns from acting to fund more projects.

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06 December - ‘We are in limbo’: banned Belarus theatre troupe forced into exile

For 16 years, the Belarus Free Theatre has advocated for freedom of expression, equality and democracy through underground performances from ad hoc locations to audiences hungry for an alternative voice to the country’s repressive dictator, Alexander Lukashenko.

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06 December - Compulsory mask wearing could give wary theatregoers confidence to return

For an industry battling back valiantly after the pandemic over the past 20 months, the Omicron variant couldn’t come at a worse time: in the run-up to Christmas, traditionally a very strong period at the box office.

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05 December - Covid’s not behind us but panto must go on

Stephen Donnelly is set to be the star of this season’s panto. The health minister will enter stage left, as only good fairies come from the right in this ancient but intensely topical art form. Donnelly will be this year’s baddie, to be booed and hissed, after he told parents to choose between playdates and panto for their children. I take his point, but there are some things you can only lose on.

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04 December - East of England study shows theatre freelancers hit by pandemic

The coronavirus lockdowns have had a major impact on theatre freelancers leaving them pessimistic for the future, says the leader of a study.

Dr Holly Maples, of the University of Essex. said the “stops and starts” of the the lockdown prevented freelancers from being able to plan ahead.

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04 December - Theatres in 'desperate need' for an audience this Christmas or venues could risk closure

THEATRES desperately need the public to pack out pantos and Christmas shows this festive season or venues could vanish forever.

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03 December - Community art projects receive £1.8m boost

Communities living in Sedgemoor are set to benefit from £1.8m of new Arts Council funding.

It is one of the areas the Arts Council has identified as having especially low involvement in arts and culture.

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02 December - Return of isolation rules will ‘topple shows and force theatres to close'

New isolation rules introduced following concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus will “topple” theatre productions and force venues to close, leading industry figures have warned.

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02 December - West End theatre ‘very healthy’ despite pandemic, says Mamma Mia! creator

West End theatre “feels very healthy” and is working hard to deal with the challenges of the pandemic, including the new Covid-19 variant, the creator of the musical Mamma Mia! has said.

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02 December - SOLT and UK Theatre plead with audiences to wear face masks

Audiences visiting venues across the country are being urged to wear face coverings when seeing shows, in a push by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre to limit the spread of Covid-19 among theatregoers.

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02 December - England’s top theatres make mask-wearing mandatory

England’s biggest theatres including the Royal Opera House, the National and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sites in the West End have implemented mandatory mask-wearing as owners respond to the threat of the spread of the Omicron Covid variant.

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01 December - Love the panto? Thanks to Covid rules, brace for a nightmare before Christmas

The return of self-isolation, until at least March, is a thoughtless move threatening West End giants and plucky regional minnows alike

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01 December - Britain’s theatergoers cover up again, after months without masks.

Since England’s theaters reopened without restrictions in July, one thing has been as notable as the action onstage: the lack of masks in the audience.

Unlike in Broadway theaters, patrons here have not been required to wear face coverings, and many attendees have chosen to ignore preshow announcements encouraging them to mask up.

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01 December - Julian Bird to step down as SOLT and UK Theatre chief exec

Julian Bird is to step down as chief executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre.

He will leave the role in May 2022, after 11 and a half years.

“It had always been my intention to think about moving on around the 10th anniversary of my time in the role, which would have been in November 2020. As with so much, the pandemic intervened in that,” Bird said.

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