November 2020

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26 November - Evening Standard and TikTok join forces for £120k fund to support theatre talent of the future

The Evening Standard has joined forces with TikTok to launch a £120,000 fund to support the next generation of theatre stars, who are struggling under the impact of Covid-19.

High-profile figures including award-winning actress Helen McCrory, theatre supremo Andrew Lloyd Webber and Young Vic boss Kwame Kwei-Armah have joined the panel to help decide who receives the 12 grants, each of £10,000. 

Read more here

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26 November - Tier 3: Theatres respond to continued closure

Cities including Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester have been told they will move into Tier 3 Covid-19 regulations next week, with theatres in those areas forced to remain shut while under such restrictions.

The tiers are due to be reviewed on December 16, with some venues in the highest category hoping they will be allowed to drop down into lighter restrictions and reopen in two weeks’ time.

Read more here

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26 November - Qdos boss vows to try to save pantos in Tier 3 despite ‘appalling’ government guidance

Pantomime producer Michael Harrison has vowed to try and save the five productions he has lined up that have fallen into Tier 3, as he criticised the government for its lack of leadership.

The producer had 10 pantomimes lined up through his company Qdos across the country, including Pantoland at the Palladium.

Read more here

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26 November - England tiers announced: London to reopen theatres, but Manchester and Sheffield face tougher restrictions

Tiers have been announced for England, which dictate which theatres can reopen in December.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced that London will be in Tier 2, which means productions scheduled for December – including musical Six and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – will be able to continue with plans to open.

Read more here

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26 November - Relief and devastation: Theatres respond to the new tier rule announcement

Venues and thought leaders across England have responded to the new tier rules revealed today.

You can find out more about which tiers different parts of the country have been placed into here.

Under the new rules, the West End will be permitted to reopen with social distancing measures and capacity caps, but other parts of England will be forced to remain closed from 2 December until at least 17 December.

Read more here

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26 November - The West End may be at risk, but history suggests it will recover

From old master paintings recreated by models to real steam trains on stage, academic and author Rohan McWilliam says London’s West End invented the concept of a night out, and, despite the pandemic, its eventful past suggests it will bounce back

Read more here

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24 November - Ever-changing Covid restrictions leave theatres and freelancers in dire straits

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus is cursed to forever push a huge boulder up a hill in Hades. Every time he gets close to the top, straining every sinew in his body to do so, the sheer weight of the boulder sends it rolling back down the hill and Sisyphus has to start again. Ad infinitum.

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24 November - New tier rules explained – how they might affect English theatres

Given all the questions surrounding the new lockdown rules, we thought we’d provide a succinct guide to what’s going on, what needs to be confirmed and how best to go forwards if you’re a ticket holder.

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23 November - Theatres warn tougher restrictions will have 'major financial impact' on sector

Theatres have criticised new restrictions planned for December, claiming they are “more onerous” than previous ones and will have major financial ramifications for the sector.

Read more here

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23 November - Theatres within Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas to reopen and those within Tier 3 to remain closed

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson today announced the new restrictions under the new three-tier system that will be imposed as of 2nd December.

Theatres within Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas can reopen with social distancing and limited audiences, while those within Tier 3 will remain closed.

Read more here

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23 November - Theatres in Tier 3 areas forced to close under 'tougher' Covid-19 regulations

Indoor entertainment venues including theatres will have to close in areas placed in Tier 3 of the government’s localised system of Covid-19 restrictions.

Read more here

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23 November - Theatres in England to reopen in tier one and two areas in December – tier three venues to remain closed

Theatres in select parts of England will be able to reopen from 2 December in line with new tier guidance set out by the UK government.

Largely described as a “tougher” version of the tier system seen earlier this autumn, any venue placed in “tier three” (the very high alert band) will not be able to stage shows in front of live audiences (though live-streamed productions will be permitted, as has been the case throughout November).

Read more here

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23 November - More than just face masks: Covid-safe working means putting people first

As one of the creators of the Costume in Theatre Association’s Covid-safe guidelines, I felt well prepared to implement safe protocols when I worked in-between the lockdowns. But it was still a steep learning curve to put the principles into practice.

Read more here

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23 November - Freelancers have been overlooked and underpaid for too long

Food banks in Manchester have called upon the city’s huge football clubs – Manchester City and Manchester United – to pay their staff a real living wage, saying many are struggling to put food on the table. These are Premier League teams worth millions, who pay footballers, managers and executives vast sums, but whose cleaners and other workers earn so little that many rely on food banks to feed their families.

Read more here

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22 November - Judi Dench and Ian McKellen head cast for Zoom show in aid of UK theatre workers

Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Maggie Smith are among some of the biggest names in British theatre who will join forces for a one-off Zoom performance in aid of the struggling arts industry.

Read more here

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22 November -Manchester theatre staff use skills to upgrade homes after Covid layoffs

A number of theatre workers who lost their jobs when the coronavirus crisis forced live venues to close are retraining to insulate and upgrade homes as part of the fight against climate breakdown.

Read more here

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21 November -Met Opera Seeks Pay Cuts in Exchange for Pandemic Paychecks

The Metropolitan Opera has offered to start paying many employees who have been furloughed without pay since April up to $1,500 a week in exchange for new union contracts that include long-term pay cuts, the company’s general manager said in a meeting with staff on Friday.

Read more here

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20 November -Government urged to appoint commissioner to support freelancers

The government is being urged to appoint an official who would support the freelance workforce to become more resilient after Covid-19, in a letter from the Creative Industries Federation.

Read more here

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20 November -'Tis the season for solo pantos: Cinderella and co are going it alone

From Polly Lister playing a dozen characters in Scarborough’s Snow Queen to Tom Binns’s solitary Buttons, one is fun for 2020’s pantomimes

Read more here

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20 November -Purists look away, but Covid may have ended the stage/screen divide for good

With vaccines on the horizon and widespread distribution anticipated by the spring of next year, there’s every reason to hope that live performances will grow ever more prevalent as 2021 progresses. Producers will initiate new projects, companies and audiences will gather, and marquees will relight. What relief, what pleasure.

Read more here

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19 November - Theatre managements face tough choices in Lockdown 2.0

The industry’s big employers are grappling with impossible decisions during the second lockdown, says Alistair Smith – but the least they can do is communicate sensitively with their workers

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19 November - Wearied theatremakers must take ferocious care of each other

With the news of a second national lockdown, the industry must reinvent itself and make new plans, says deputy artistic director Erica Whyman. But this time, creatives are tired and will need to stand together to find a way through

Read more here

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19 November - Soho Theatre to partner with Amazon Prime Video for three-series deal

Soho Theatre in central London has signed a multi-series deal with Amazon Prime video to present and broadcast shows in the UK, created on its stages.

Launching next month with season one (featuring 11 existing shows), further series will be unveiled over the course of 2021, each of which will be filmed at the capital’s theatre

Read more here

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19 November - Theatre must redouble efforts to look after its workforce’s mental health

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted our sector’s many inequalities, says producer Richard Jordan – let’s use this moment to reflect on how best to build a fairer industry as we look to reopening

Read more here

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19 November - Shakespeare's Globe to stream Sandi Toksvig Christmas show on-demand next month

Sandi Toksvig’s festive romp Christmas at the (Snow) Globe will be presented on-demand online from 21 December to 5 January.

Filmed on-stage at the London venue, the show runs for 45 minutes and has direction by Pip Broughton.

Read more here

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18 November - UK will miss out on EU cultural funding boost to aid Covid recovery

The European Union has agreed to bolster its financial provision for culture by a third more than planned over the next seven years to help its member states rebuild and support their arts sectors following Covid-19.

Creative Europe, to which the UK will lose access from January, is one of 10 EU programmes given an uplift in funding alongside the EU’s final financial budget for 2021 to 2027.

Read more here

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18 November - ‘2020 was meant to be my year’: How COVID-19 is impacting emerging performers

The arts industry has been hit hard by COVID-19.

It is worth £10.8bn a year to the UK economy, but the lockdown has caused venues to close, events to be cancelled, and left thousands of jobs at risk. 

Read more here

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17 November - Forensic research is needed to count cost to society of shuttering theatre

At the beginning of this year, I spent a day with artists and researchers to help shape the research agenda of the new Centre for Cultural Value based at the University of Leeds.

Countless scientific studies have proved that structured, participatory group activities are the most impactful forms of arts engagement. They nourish the mind, body and soul through active movement and togetherness.

Read more here

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17 November - Arts After Brexit study warns of two-year cultural hiatus in UK

Cultural organisations in the UK could face a two-year artistic hiatus triggered by Brexit in which they become more inward looking and less international, according to a report on the consequences of leaving the EU.

Read more here

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16 November - ACE refines terms for recovery grants to avoid 'double funding' of companies

Arts organisations that have been awarded money from the Culture Recovery Fund will only be allowed to apply for the newly extended furlough scheme if those staff costs are not covered by the rescue grant, it has been confirmed.

Read more here

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16 November - Ambassador Theatre Group to bring 2,500 casual staff back on to furlough scheme

Ambassador Theatre Group is to invite 2,500 of its casual and zero-hours workers on to the government’s furlough scheme. The announcement follows earlier indications that the company would not place casual workers back on to the scheme, which drew criticism from staff.

Read more here

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16 November - Cancelled theatre shows and rescheduled dates – a rolling list of what's happening during the second lockdown

This is a rolling, non-exhaustive list (we’ve tried our best!), so please check back in or check venue websites. We want to really emphasise this, be patient – a lot of venues, in conjunction with producers, are still trying to work through the current guidance and get plans ready.

Read more here

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13 November - Welsh theatre closures 'unjustifiable', government warned

Theatres in Wales have attacked “unfair and unjustifiable” Covid-19 restrictions that are keeping them closed while other leisure and entertainment venues can reopen.

They are warning that the rules could have severe consequences on the sector and its workforce, and that could perpetuate an idea that theatres are not safe for audiences.

Read more here

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13 November - All Battersea Arts Centre events to be pay-what-you-can from spring 2021

All future events at Battersea Arts Centre are to be pay-what-you-can or free from spring 2021, artistic director and chief executive Tarek Iskander has revealed.

The plans were outlined during a panel discussion on how arts organisations put a value on audience engagement as part of the Achates Philanthropy Foundation’s Art, Audiences, Money conference on November 12.

Read more here

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12 November - The Show Must Go On campaign raises £500k for theatre charities

The Theatre Support Fund, which created The Show Must Go On merchandise, has raised more than half a million pounds for performing arts charities during the pandemic.

Set up six months ago by Chris Marcus and Damien Stanton to help theatre workers affected by Covid-19, the Theatre Support Fund has taken more than 40,000 orders for its The Show Must Go On! merchandise and raised more than £500,000.

Read more here

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12 November - Covid impact on arts philanthropy worsening, with 35% decline in 2020 – study

Performing arts organisations in the UK are experiencing a 35% year-on-year drop in the number of donations they have received in 2020, according to new research that reveals a worsening picture of the pandemic’s impact on cultural philanthropy.

Read more here

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12 November - Covid restrictions 'unfair' on theatres, sector says

Coronavirus rules are not fair on theatres, a group representing the sector in Wales has said.

Cinemas, bingo halls, casinos and museums are able to reopen after the 17-day firebreak ended, but theatres are not on that list.

Creu Cymru, which represents theatres in Wales, said they were “devastated” and it was “unjustifiable”.

Read more here

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11 November - ATG accused of ‘lack of care’ for not putting casual workers back on furlough

Ambassador Theatre Group has been accused of showing a “complete lack of care” for not placing its zero-hours and casual workers back on the government’s furlough scheme.

Read more here

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11 November - Neil Mendoza: Arts sector struggles to quantify its value to Treasury

The government’s commissioner for cultural recovery and renewal, Neil Mendoza, has urged arts organisations to demonstrate how they can contribute to the nationwide recovery from the pandemic, arguing that the sector “finds it very hard to quantify” the positive impact it has on communities when making its case to the Treasury.

Read more here

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11 November - Inc Arts launches fund to support people affected by racism in the arts

A fund has been launched to provide free support to people who have been affected by racism in the arts.

Inc Arts, which campaigns for greater inclusion in the cultural sector, set up the fund following its recent anti-racism conference, Speak – Listen – Reset – Heal.

Read more here

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11 November - Welsh arts recovery package given £10m boost from government

The Welsh Government is allocating an additional £10.7 million to its arts recovery package “in recognition of how hard the sector has been hit” by Covid-19.

It will go towards supporting the large number of applications from organisations needing financial help, and will be used to open a third phase of Wales’ freelancer fund.

Read more here

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11 November - Amateur dramatics and Covid: ‘We keep going against the odds’

As with their professional counterparts, amateur theatres around the country have been hit hard by Covid, but the pandemic has not curbed their desire to produce work and connect with communities. Amateur theatremakers tell Dave Hollander how they are staying afloat and harnessing technology in lockdown

Read more here

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10 November - Emilia Clarke & Jude Law On Their Dream Role & Why Theatre Is Important

In a timely reminder that we not only need to celebrate this country’s unique theatre landscape, but to protect it, British Vogue gathered 10 of the London stage’s finest performers to find out what they love most about going to the theatre. From Jude Law to Emilia Clarke, Paapa Essiedu to Lily James, Sophie Okonedo to Andrew Scott, as well as Arinze Kene, Rosalie Craig, Sheila Atim and Indira Varma, find out how Britain’s starriest thespians learn their lines and the productions they regret missing out on.

Read more here

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10 November - £1.4m fund to support community activities promoting well-being

A new £1.4 million social-prescribing fund has been launched to support community activities that promote well-being.

Groups of organisations will be able to apply to the Thriving Communities Fund, launched by Arts Council England and the National Academy for Social Prescribing, for grants of £25,000 to £50,000. The money will be used to enable them to carry out activities in areas including arts and culture, physical activity, financial well-being, and nature and the environment.

Read more here

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10 November - Waiting in the wings: how a second lockdown halted theatre's comeback

New shows from Manchester’s Hope Mill, London’s National Theatre and the Red Ladder touring company have all been cut short by Covid as venues close their doors once more

Read more here

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09 November - Oliver Dowden: ‘I will fight to ensure lockdown restrictions end on time’

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”.

Read more here

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