August 2020

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28 August - Scottish theatres and comedy venues win £15m government support

The Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund was announced by first minister Nicola Sturgeon as part of a £59 million package for culture and heritage

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28 August - U.K.’s Iconic Royal Shakespeare Company Theatres to Remain Closed Until 2021

The U.K.’s iconic Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) theaters at Stratford-upon-Avon will not reopen for full productions until 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, artistic director Gregory Doran and executive director Catherine Mallyon have confirmed.

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28 August - Arts sector continuing to suffer worst Covid-19 effects – ONS

The arts and entertainment industry is continuing to be hit harder by Covid-19 than almost every other area of the economy, despite many sectors showing signs of recovery, new data has revealed

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27 August - RSC to begin redundancy talks as 2020 reopening ruled out

The Royal Shakespeare Company has confirmed it will not reopen its theatres for full productions until 2021, as it announces that redundancy consultations will soon get underway

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27 August -Who in the arts will survive Covid? Not the agenda-driven obsessives

Those in the arts who are willing to experiment are coming up trumps – but no marks for the BBC’s Proms fiasco, nor the Southbank Centre

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27 August -Over half the arts, entertainment and recreation workforce has been furloughed – more than any other industry

New findings from the ONS (Office of National Statistics) has shown that the arts, entertainment and recreation industries have been hard-hit by the ongoing pandemic.

 

In new data released today, it was revealed that 51 per cent of employees in those industries have been furloughed (utilising the government’s job retention scheme), compared with an average 13 per cent across the country – almost four times more than the norm. 89 per cent of companies have also applied for the job retention scheme as well.

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27 August -Lincoln Drill Hall faces uncertain future as council abolishes funding

Lincoln City Council has pulled its funding of arts venue Lincoln Drill Hall, claiming Covid-19 has made its “increasingly unsustainable” business model “even less viable

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27 August -ACE contribute Millions to Benevolent funds

We are contributing £1 million each to the Theatre Artists Fund and Help Musicians’ Financial Hardship Funding programme.

These funds can help support freelancers less likely to access our funding through National Lottery Project Grants and Developing your Creative Practice.

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26 August -Social distancing rules for singers altered following Covid transmission studies

Specific guidance around singing during the pandemic has been updated following last week’s published results into the transmission of coronavirus.

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26 August - Theatr Clwyd to offer bursaries to ‘vital’ freelancers

Theatr Clwyd has established a new bursary scheme to support freelancers’ professional development, alongside a digital networking programme

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26 August - HOME Manchester to restart live shows in October with Gateau Chocolat, RashDash and more

In an exciting move, all tickets for the season will be priced at £10 – with some shows also available digitally for those less willing to go into auditoriums.

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26 August - Dundee cultural organisations launch joint fundraising campaign

Cultural organisations in Dundee have launched a joint fundraising campaign to offset some of the financial impact of Covid-19

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25 August - Theatre reopening ‘doomed to failure’ without insurance solution

Producers are warning that their inability to insure shows against cancellation due to coronavirus is fast becoming the biggest obstacle to theatre’s recovery

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24 August - Northern Irish arts to be hit by £23m Covid losses

The arts sector in Northern Ireland will face losses of about £23 million by the end of this year as a result of the pandemic, the leader of its arts council has warned, as she calls for funding parity with other parts of the UK and Ireland.

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21 August - Outdoor sports and arts events to be trialled in Wales

A number of small-scale outdoor theatres and sporting events will be trialled in Wales as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

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20 August - Singing 'no riskier than talking' for virus spread

Singing does not produce substantially more respiratory particles than speaking at a similar volume, a study suggests.

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20 August - Creative sectors rally to warn of coronavirus talent exodus

The UK’s performing arts are at risk of a talent exodus and will experience a “sudden decline”, unless creative freelancers are supported by the government until spring next year, the sector is warning

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19 August - Theatre where all tickets are free to open in Liverpool

A new venue billed as the UK’s first “truly free theatre” is set to open in Liverpool next spring

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19 August - Welsh Government urged to pilot universal basic income for creatives

The Welsh Government is being urged to explore the idea of a universal basic income for creatives by a commissioner who was appointed to oversee the interests of future generations.

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19 August - All dressed up with nowhere to play: Edinburgh's stranded fringe stars – in pictures

The cancellation of this year’s Edinburgh festival and fringe left many performers without a stage – so Richard Davenport shot the saucy sea witches and confused sheep closer to home instead

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19 August - Blackpool Grand warns it may close down without government support

Blackpool Grand has warned that its future is very much in doubt as uncertainty over the pandemic reigns.

CEO Ruth Eastwood, speaking to the BBC, warned that unless a £500,000 grant is given to the venue by the government (as part of its £1.57bn support package) then it may have to close down, making 57 staff members redundant.

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16 August - Arts jobs crisis looms as vacancies fall faster than any other UK sector

Job opportunities in the arts have disappeared faster than any other sector of the UK economy as a result of the pandemic, ONS data has revealed, with vacancies dropping by 87% compared with this time last year

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16 August - Cameron Mackintosh makes about 200 UK theatre staff redundant

Les Misérables producer latest to announce job losses as industry struggles to weather Covid-19

The spokesperson added: “It is a very sad time for everyone affected by this thankless situation one we could never have imagined would have been forced on the industry.”

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15 August - James Graham: how theatre can come back better | Financial Times

‘Theatre needs an age of Reformation, not Restoration. And I believe the way forward, against the backdrop of dire economic forecasts and vastly depleted funds, is to accept that if we cannot for the time being go large, then we go local.’

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14 August - Rufus Norris: The Covid funding for UK theatres must do more than just allow them to survive

Without the ability to create new work the sector is destined for decrepitude, stasis and irreversible decline

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14 August - Elif Shafak: ‘We need to tell different stories, to humanise the other’

History has shown that hate doesn’t start with concentration camps or civil war. It always starts with words

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13 August - London mayor calls for further aid to help save the West End from an "existential threat"

London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for further financial support to help the West End, which he says is facing an “existential threat”.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Khan laid out eight proposals to help prop up the centre of London both during and after the pandemic, with dwindling visitor numbers meaning the hospitality and creatives sectors are suffering significantly.

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13 August - Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Olivia Colman welcome Amazon arts donation

Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Olivia Colman have welcomed a donation from Amazon Prime Video to a fund which the actors launched to help support theatre professionals whose livelihoods have been threatened by the pandemic.

The first awards are £1m to a Covid-response fund created by the film and TV charity; and £500,000 to the theatre community fund spearheaded by Waller-Bridge, Colman and their Fleabag producer Francesca Moody.

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BBC News logo

12 August - Venues and crew signal 'red alert' for live music, theatre and events

Music venues, theatres and their workforces have taken part in a day of action around the UK to highlight the crisis facing the live events scene.

More than 300 venues including London’s National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall turned their lights red as part of the Red Alert campaign.

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12 August - We Are Theatre: faces from the front line of an industry in crisis

With venues closed since mid-March and no prospect of indoor performances fully resuming before the furlough scheme ends, theatre workers of all stripes face a bleak future. Photographer Adam Clayton-Smith has captured their uncertainty and resilience in a series of portraits

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11 August - Arts venues to go red for live events awareness campaign

Venues across the UK will turn their lights red later to highlight the problems the live events sector faces during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall are among the venues taking part in the “Red Alert” day of action.

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The Stage logo

10 August - Freelancers forgotten again – I’m beginning to lose hope

But there’s no escaping that the majority of our workforce is being systematically starved of oxygen. The 70% of us who are freelancers, despite hanging on with grit and tenacity, are being repeatedly kicked off the bottom of the ladder.

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10 August - Derry Playhouse has unique plan to fill empty seats

The Derry Playhouse is aiming to be the first theatre in NI to open its doors to a paying audience for live performances since lockdown in March.

It is planning productions from the beginning of September, in line with the latest advice from Stormont.

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10 August - London’s Bridge Theatre to reopen with live staging of Talking Heads reboot

Stars of the BBC’s recent version of Talking Heads will reprise their performances on stage at London’s Bridge Theatre, under plans to reopen the venue with social distancing in place

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10 August - Hackney Empire, Lyric Hammersmith, Queen's Theatre Hornchurch and Theatre Royal Stratford East postpone pantos

Four major London venues have announced that they will not be presenting pantomimes this winter.

Hackney Empire, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Theatre Royal Stratford East have all revealed that their festive pieces will be delayed until 2021 while uncertainty over the coronavirus continues.

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07 August - Arts workers are finally talking to each other, and it feels like a revolution

Theatre’s recovery depends on the ingenuity of its workforce, says costume designer Catherine Kodicek – it is we who have all the tools needed to save the arts

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07 August - WALES: Calls for artists to get a 'guaranteed state income'

Welsh artists should get a guaranteed income from the state to rescue them from the impact of the pandemic, the future generations commissioner has said.

Sophie Howe said a “safety net” system would tie payments to a commitment to provide work for the public good.

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07 August - Furlough will not be extended to theatres and the arts

“…that’s not something that can carry on forever” Chancellor Rishi Sunak tells #BBCBreakfast the furlough scheme will not be extended for sectors who say they’re particularly in need, such as theatres and the arts.

Watch the video here

The Stage logo

06 August - To survive Covid, we must protect people as well as buildings

Pre-pandemic, Theatre Royal Plymouth was thriving, with multiple shows on tour and in rehearsal. Now, as the entire artistic department prepares for redundancy, the theatre’s assistant director Freddie Crossley explains the importance of listening to the people who make performances happen

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05 August - Kwame Kwei-Armah: ‘You can’t place black within a box’

It’s “nerve-racking”, he continues, “trying to look after your internal team, as well as being really cognisant of the freelance community having nothing and falling through the cracks. If we don’t look after them now, then we won’t have them to call on when we reopen and the work will suffer.”

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05 August - Emergency Scottish Government relief funds support performing arts venues

Twenty venues across Scotland have received a total of £7.5m from the first strand of the Scottish Government’s £12.5m Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund.

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05 August - Government recovery fund aims to retain status quo, not freelance workforce

While the emergency arts funding is clearly designed to protect prestigious institutions until March next year, how can the theatre industry ensure its freelance workers survive? asks The Stage editor Alistair Smith

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04 August - Is the government willing to dig in and ensure the future of theatre?

The struggles ahead of us are Herculean, but is the government willing to dig in and ensure the future of theatre? asks Tracy Brabin

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04 August - Edinburgh festivals: 2021 is in doubt, says director Fergus Linehan

The future of Edinburgh International Festival in 2021 is in doubt, according to its director.

Fergus Linehan described the “deeply unpleasant” experience in April of cancelling the “official” event because of Covid-19, along with the Fringe and book festival. All have been reinvented for a three-week event as digital arts channels this month, but crucially without the festivals’ greatest attraction, live performance.

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03 August - Theatres promised additional money after ‘wee clique’ row

Scotland’s arts agency has said it will distribute more funds to theatres nationwide after it was accused of helping only a “wee clique” of publicly funded venues..

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03 August - Keswick's Theatre By The Lake confirms 38 job losses

A theatre in the Lake District has confirmed 38 staff will be made redundant as it struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Theatre by the Lake, in Keswick, says the jobs will go following a two-month consultation process.

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03 August - UK theatre job losses rise by 2,000 in a month, union figures show

Number increases to 5,000 as industry awaits funds from coronavirus relief package

Philippa Childs, the head of Bectu, said: “The clock is still ticking to save the future of the theatre industry and these figures demonstrate the scale of the crisis it is facing. In July we warned that a storm would turn into a tsunami without further assistance. Despite details of the arts recovery package being announced we are still nowhere closer to the money being distributed.

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02 August - BBC Radio 2, Elaine Page on Sunday

Mentions and discussion of the government emergency funding for arts (from 1:24:45)

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01 August - Theatre bodies developing quality assurance mark to rebuild audience trust

Industry leaders are developing a quality mark to be displayed in theatres and on other promotional materials, aimed at rebuilding trust among theatregoers

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01 August - Hundreds of National Theatre and Southbank staff to protest job cuts

Director Mike Leigh and playwright Caryl Churchill have called on the National Theatre to protect its front-of-house staff from job cuts, ahead of a major protest planned against the losses this weekend

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01 August - EDINBURGH - Performers, organisers and workers will lose opportunities and income, as the city falls quiet for the first time since 1947

‘There is a sense of loss’: reflections on this year’s cancelled Edinburgh festival

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01 August - Sing-alongs will be banned ‘for significant period of time’ as scientists fear singing is as dangerous as coughing

Performances that involve singing should be outside with strict social distancing and absolutely no audience sing-alongs, experts say

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01 August - VIDEO: The British Theatre Industry’s Freelancers On Covid-19 Impact

As the British government announces a £1.57billion bailout for the cultural sector there is uncertainty about how the theatre arts and its freelance community will survive. Artistic director Matthew Xia, set and costume designer Vicki Mortimer and a freelance stage manager, who had to go on Universal Credit to survive, discuss Covid-19’s effect on the UK’s theatre sector.

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<— July 2020

September 2020 —>