30 April - Exclusive: Social distancing not needed at big events, Boris Johnson to be told
30 April - Crowds can return for big events, PM will be told
Social distancing for large events can be scrapped from June 21, initial results from a pilot scheme suggest.
Government scientists monitored test events including the FA Cup semi-final, Carabao Cup final and the World Snooker Championship.
30 April - London arts institutions sign up to improve working conditions for freelancers
Battersea Arts Centre, the National Theatre, Camden People’s Theatre, Studio Wayne McGregor and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre are among nearly 50 London arts organisations pledging to collaborate with freelancers to improve working practices.
30 April - Nicola Sturgeon’s disgraceful ‘two-metre rule’ threatens a cultural catastrophe
29 April - Challenges lie ahead as theatres reopen, but there is new hope and possibility
There is an air of incipient excitement wafting through the theatre community as vaccinations rise, restrictions are incrementally lifted and productions murmur about their return. It’s a bit more pronounced in the UK, wherefirm dates have begun to appear, and it would seem in May or early June – barring any setbacks – that will begin to happen in the US as well.
29 April - Scottish culture minister intervenes over social distancing in theatres
Scotland’s culture minister Fiona Hyslop has stepped in to address concerns that two-metre social distancing in arts venues would leave them unable to operate and leave some venues facing closure.
29 April - New freelance scheme launched to help creative organisations improve work practices
An upcoming scheme will see 50 performing arts freelancers collaborate with organisations to improve work practices.
With 60 per cent of London’s freelancers having lost all of their income during the pandemic, the project aims to build sustainable models for the freelance community to prevent more calamities like the one seen over the last year.
29 April - Pandemic has further increased cultural inequality – report
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities in cultural engagement, with under-represented groups hit hardest by the financial impacts of the crisis, new research has suggested.
29 April - Scott Rudin outcome could be a watershed moment for global theatre industry
Since that front-page story broke, Broadway leading lady Karen Olivo – Tony-nominated for her performance in the musical Moulin Rouge! – demanded improvements in the industry – as well as leaving the musical as a point of protest – and hundreds of Broadway workers marched on the Great White Way demanding Rudin’s removal from the Broadway League.
29 April - Arts venues urge PM to act over post-Brexit touring 'crisis'
28 April - Two-metre distancing rule 'economically untenable' for Scottish theatre – directors
28 April - No sign of infection after test concert in Spain, researchers say
Researchers in Spain have found “no sign” of higher levels of infection among people who took part in a large test concert last month.
Six people tested positive within 14 days of attending the gig in Barcelona, but the incidence was lower than that seen in the general population.
28 April - 300 arts organisations warn time running out to solve EU working crisis
Hundreds of high-profile cultural organisations in the UK have warned time is rapidly running out to solve the EU working crisis, criticising the government for a lack of progress in fixing the problem.
28 April - Time running out to solve post-Brexit touring visas, theatre world warns
Britain’s leading cultural organisations have warned Boris Johnson that time is running out to solve the “crisis” for companies wishing to tour in Europe.
The heads of Royal Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company and scores of other organisations have claimed that despite the prime minister’s promise to fix the visa problem there has been little progress.
28 April - MIF's John McGrath: Pandemic could permanently change international festivals
Arts festivals have the opportunity to reimagine how they work internationally in the wake of the pandemic, including reducing their environmental impact with less travel, Manchester International Festival artistic director John McGrath has said.
28 April - Our actors and musicians need help with Brexit red tape
In the first great era of globalisation, from 1890 to 1914, Britain’s export industries included not only manufacturing but the performing arts. Musicals such as A Runaway Girl (1898) and The Silver Slipper (1901) transferred seamlessly from London to Berlin, Vienna, Paris and Budapest. Yet more than a century later, despite the continued vitality of British theatre and music, such cultural exchange risks being choked off.
27 April - Two metre social distancing imposed on Scottish theatres, concert halls and comedy clubs
Scotland’s arenas, concert halls and comedy clubs will be forced to impose two metre social distancing if they want to reopen – despite warnings that the vast majority of events will be totally unviable.
26 April - #FundFreelanceDance: the crowdfunding scheme getting dancers back on their feet
During the pandemic, dance freelancers have been among the groups worst affected. The founder of an initiative designed to keep them employed speaks to Rachel Elderkin about creating a new way of working and the importance of collaboration
26 April - The Guardian view on reopening the arts: behind the scenes, all is not well
26 April - Nica Burns expands on Nimax testing hub as confidence grows for restrictions lifting
Nimax has advanced its plans to set up a Covid-19 testing hub at the West End’s Palace Theatre, which will be in place when it reopens its venues in May.
Speaking to The Stage, chief executive Nica Burns expanded on the company’s centralised testing centre at the Palace, and said she felt optimistic that the roadmap will roll out as planned, backing proposals for Covid-status certification for theatre audiences.
26 April - Theatre leaders support calls for Covid status certification in open letter
Theatre figures have called for the introduction of Covid-status certification to help revive the arts sector.
The likes of Ralph Fiennes, Meera Syal, Tom Stoppard, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Adrian Lester, Simon Rattle and Andrew Lloyd Webber have all signed an open letter to the Prime Minister and opposition party leaders, stating that certifications would help revive “the beating heart of society, providing jobs and entertainment to people of all ages”.
26 April - Silence can harm. Those in power must do more to condemn bullying
Silence in an auditorium – those rare, glorious moments when it feels as if the audience is collectively holding its breath – is one of the reasons I love theatre. The silence I detest in theatre is the silence that cloaks so much bad behaviour and abuses of power in our industry. It is a silence fuelled predominantly by fear – the fear of never working again.
25 April - Theatre newcomers get their chance to shine as London’s West End reopens
When the curtains finally rise on West End stages again in May, should there really be an immediate return to the same hit shows for the same audiences? Many theatre-goers may hope so. But the enforced shutdown has been a chance to reconsider. And now, in a bold experiment – unveiled today in the Observer – the spotlight is to turn in a new direction.
25 April - Cameron Mackintosh on Phantom of the Opera: ‘This is not the Civil Service – we’re creating art’
23 April - Phantom of the Opera orchestra members take aim at ‘abhorrent’ cuts
Musicians from The Phantom of the Opera’s orchestra have spoken out at “abhorrent” plans to reduce the band by half when the show returns, claiming some face “financial ruin” as a result.
23 April - UK arts figures call for Covid certificates to revive industry
Arts world luminaries including actors, directors and festival organisers have written to the government calling for the introduction of Covid-status certificates, saying this is the only way their industry will bring about the return of audiences.
23 April - Arts Council England defends delivery of Culture Recovery Fund
Arts Council England bosses have stood up for the body’s handling of the Culture Recovery Fund in the face of questions from MPs about the speed it was distributed and its failure to provide grants to freelancers.
22 April - £75k fund launched to help venues and creatives to prepare for Edinburgh Fringe
A £75,000 pot of funding has been established to help companies, creatives and venues prepare to return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2021 and 2022.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said the fund would prioritise projects that seek to “improve opportunities for access on the fringe by underrepresented groups”
22 April - 'The clock is ticking' for summer music festival season
Music festival organisers say they’re “running out of time” to save their events this summer, as they renew calls for the government to intervene.
In recent weeks, Download, Boomtown and Deershed have all pulled the plug, joining Glastonbury, which cancelled its 2021 festival in January.
22 April - Box-office data: England recovering but struggles continue in Scotland and NI
Performing arts venues in England accounted for 91% of all box-office revenue in the UK last week, according to data analysis that suggested arts venues in Northern Ireland and Scotland are facing a struggle to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
22 April - Theatre's return is an opportunity for joy, but also reflection
As lockdown eases and, in the words of lyricist Don Black, “the dance begins to stir”, we can begin looking ahead to recovery. Richard Jordan says the arts have a key role to play in this.
22 April - Brit Awards to have live audience as part of Covid event trials
The Brit Awards will go ahead with a live audience next month, as part of the government’s research into how live events might work after the pandemic.
The 4,000-strong audience won’t need to wear masks or be socially distanced, but will need a negative Covid test.
It’s the latest addition to the Events Research Programme, which examines how venues and events can reopen safely.
21 April - ACE defends Culture Recovery Fund distribution
21 April - British stage schools have produced stars like Kate Winslet. So why are so many closing their doors?
21 April - Birmingham Rep boss: Using venue as temporary court staved off further redundancies
Birmingham Repertory Theatre artistic director Sean Foley has defended a decision to use the venue as a temporary court during the pandemic.
He said the move meant the theatre did not have to make more people redundant.
When Birmingham Rep was used as a court, the venue was heavily criticised, with theatre company Talawa pulling out of a partnership because of the move.
21 April - Boomtown festival cancelled amid Covid insurance row
The Boomtown festival will not go ahead after organisers said the lack of a government-backed insurance scheme left them staring at a £10m “gamble”.
The 66,000-capacity event sold out in February and was due to take place at the Matterley Estate, near Winchester, from 11-15 August.
Organisers said they needed government help to insure against a late cancellation out of their control.
20 April - Theatres Trust announces £100,000 grants for not-for-profit venues
The Theatres Trust has launched a £100,000 small grants programme for not-for-profit theatres across UK to carry out essential works.
Funded by the Linbury Trust, the scheme will provide grants of up to £5,000 for small projects that impact a theatre’s resilience, sustainability or accessibility.
20 April - Government faces the music as festivals are forced to cancel again over Covid threat
Organisers of a 70,000-person music festival have cancelled this summer’s event, blaming the lack of a government-backed insurance scheme.
Large live events have been warning the government that their inability to secure insurance means that even falling Covid cases and deaths might not be enough to give them a normal summer.
20 April - Michael Grandage, the director who brought us Nicole Kidman, predicts West End resurgence
20 April - Covid-cautious festival cancellations dampen ‘great British summer’ hopes
A trickle of festival cancellations is poised to “become a flood”, with more than nine in 10 independent events privately indicating they may not go ahead, senior industry figures have said, after Boomtown festival became the third in a week to cancel.
19 April - The arts are returning – let me buy a single ticket so I can enjoy them alone!
Some ticket booking sites are impose a minimum ticket buying option to allow for social distancing, and recoup costs. It’s understandable, but it rules out those of us who like the independence of going solo
19 April - Tony Nominee Jeremy O. Harris on Redirecting Awards Campaign Budgets to ‘People Who Needed Them Most’
Broadway, still shuttered, finds itself at the crossroads of several economic and political crises. Just this month, an exposé on Scott Rudin re-illuminated the industry’s long codependent relationship with the volatile producer, prompting Tony nominee Karen Olivo to step down from her leading role in “Moulin Rouge.” And this week, spurred by a growing frustration with industry unions, a “March on Broadway” is planned by several Black advocacy groups to protest the use of union dues.
19 April - Hardship fund for comedy sector launched as survey reveals impact of pandemic
Half of all workers in the live comedy sector have lost more than 50% of their annual income due to the pandemic, a new survey has revealed.
It comes as a fund is launched to help people working in the live comedy industry, which will see grants of £500 over two rounds, focusing on those who are self-employed, unemployed, or who run an organisation that has been ineligible for any existing government support.
17 April - The government must intervene to help West End theatres reopen
17 April - Drive-in cinemas and Covid-compliant hedonism: welcome to 2021’s summer of arts
It is difficult to imagine – as we trudge past shuttered cinemas and boarded-up gig venues, theatres still displaying faded posters for 2019’s long-abandoned productions and galleries whose only patrons are security guards – that one day everything will be open again.
17 April - Tickets still being sold for June shows that can't take place as planned
Tickets for arena shows by Alicia Keys, Haim and Mrs Brown’s Boys in June are still on sale despite the fact they can’t go ahead as planned under the government reopening roadmap.
In February, the government said full-capacity indoor events would not return in England until at least 21 June.
17 April - Karen Olivo: Leading by Leaving
17 April - Art, gigs, theatre: 100 must-see events to book as Britain reopens
17 April - Britain needs to stage a comeback
Britain needs its theatres back because Britain IS theatre – a country obsessed with role-playing
When I stumbled on the English National Opera’s rendition of Handel’s Messiah recently and watched it for a while, I suddenly burst into tears. There, in the empty London Coliseum where the ENO were performing amidst the shadows of the empty theatre, came the voice of the countertenor Iestyn Davies.
16 April - WarnerMedia donates £250,000 to the Theatre Artists Fund
WarnerMedia has donated £250,000 to the Theatre Artists Fund to help support UK theatre workers struggling during the pandemic.
Established by director Sam Mendes, the Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre, the Theatre Artists Fund provides emergency financial aid to freelancers, who make up an estimated 70% of the theatre sector and many of whom have received no government support.
16 April - Maskless events trial will not include Covid vaccine passports
16 April - UK government releases guidance and further information for pilot events without distancing
15 April - Edinburgh should take this chance to bring two festivals together
Suddenly, in the immortal words of Cole Porter, I feel like spring has sprung. I don’t mean weather-wise, of course. I mean spring in the metaphorical sense of rebirth and the end of hibernation.
15 April - The Government’s dithering over social distancing threatens to cripple the West End
15 April - It’s time to champion disabled theatre talent with an inclusive recovery
As he leaves the role of government disability champion, Andrew Miller looks back on progress achieved in the past three years and explains why promoting disabled artists and theatre workers remains crucial as the sector rebuilds
15 April - Coronavirus: Underwrite festivals and other events including the Great North Run, organisers plead
14 April - Phantom 'will not return in original form', investors told in November 2020
14 April - Edinburgh's International Festival to be outdoors with shorter shows
The Edinburgh International Festival will return to the capital this summer with huge outdoor marquees to stage events.
Three temporary structures, designed for live performance, will be erected in Edinburgh Park and Edinburgh University’s Old College Quad.
14 April - Theatres join forces with Inc Arts UK for the launch of Unlock’s anti-racism tool kit for the arts
Today sees the launch of Unlock, which has been created by Inc Arts UK in collaboration with leaders across the creative sector. Unlock offers organisations a choice of over 100 suggestions and pieces of advice to help bring their anti-racist commitments to life in arts workplaces.
14 April - Two-thirds of online audiences viewed new art form during Covid – survey
14 April - ‘The heat is on’: top theatres act to root out ‘system failure’ of racism
The Young Vic and Royal Court theatres have entered into a pioneering consultation process that aims to identify and root out systemic racism from their venues. The artistic directors of both London institutions have signed up to a two-year partnership with the social enterprise Sour Lemons that will interrogate the internal structures that uphold institutional racism, raise awareness and accountability, and listen to staff’s experiences of racism inside the buildings.
14 April - Cutting Phantom’s orchestra to save money dilutes the sumptuous original
ver since I heard the depressing news about the near halving of the orchestra for the returning The Phantom of the Opera – from 27 players down to a meagre 14 – two songs have been in my head. Neither is by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
14 April - Phantom of the Opera cuts orchestra in half, leaving musicians with no job to come back to
A member of the orchestra of a leading West End musical has spoken out after his job was eliminated ahead of the show’s return.
Principal percussionist Matt Dickinson said he is one of 13 musicians who will no longer have jobs on The Phantom of the Opera ahead of its return to the stage this summer.
13 April - Edinburgh international festival plans outdoor return for 2021
Edinburgh international festival will take place this summer, but will be outdoors for the first time in its 74-year-old history.
Organisers on Tuesday revealed plans for three large outdoor pavilions to be installed at locations across the city, including the university’s Old College Quad and Edinburgh Park. The third venue is yet to be confirmed.
13 April - As theatre returns to normal(ish), freelancers deserve better working conditions
Suddenly, it felt normal again. Maybe it was the arrival of the spring sunshine. Maybe it was getting a jab and hearing of others getting it too. Maybe it was the phone ringing with offers of work (inevitably, clashing) – all local, none for just quite yet, but soon. So if not completely normal, at least normal-ish after a year that was far from normal.
13 April - English theatres to return from next month: what to expect when the show goes on
The roadmap is in motion – we’ve just passed step two and, with the death rate continuing to fall, it’s clear that increased risk mitigation and the inexorable vaccine roll-out have really given a big boost to society. So, as we wait for stage shows to return, what happens next in the world of theatre?
12 April - Phantom of the Opera orchestra to be cut by 50% when it returns to West End
The Phantom of the Opera’s orchestra will be cut in half when the production returns to the West End this summer, reducing its previous 27 musicians to just 14.
It comes despite promises from Really Useful Group president Jessica Koravos that the returning show would be the “original Phantom” that was running until theatres closed last year.