31 August - As Broadway nervously returns, London is having a ball
While Broadway nervously approaches mass reopening in September, with casts and creatives terrified by the Delta variant, much of London’s West End has been happily chugging along since spring.
Producers there have had to adapt to — or, in the case of Andrew Lloyd Webber, angrily shout about — constantly shifting rules, and bowed to the reality that it’s now or never.
31 August - Panto season 'facing £23m box office loss' due to slump in school bookings
Theatres in the UK and Ireland could lose up to £23 million this Christmas due to a steep drop in pantomime ticket sales, which are lagging significantly behind previous years, according to newly published data.
31 August - Wales: Theatres wary despite first capacity audience since pandemic
The first capacity indoor audience in Wales since the beginning of the Covid pandemic is set to watch comedian Jimmy Carr perform on Tuesday.
Formal social distancing rules have ended in Wales under Alert Level Zero.
It means theatres, which have been closed for 18 months, can now sell out for shows and performances.
30 August - Liveness is at the heart of theatre, and another reason we need to protect it
A live performance happens at a fixed point in time and space. Even at its smallest, it involves a gathering between performer and audience. It is unpredictable and participatory, and the act of witnessing the performance changes it. Above all, it’s a physical experience involving all the senses. So, what was lost during a year when it couldn’t happen?
27 August - Backstage workers face lack of mental health support post-lockdown – survey
Half of backstage workers are considering leaving their career and more than two thirds do not think that employers have put adequate mental health support in place for their post-Covid return to work, according to a survey of more than 1,000 people.
26 August - Theatre Tax Relief paid out £74m last year, latest figures show
25 August - Content warnings make theatre more inclusive – mocking them is damaging
In the week that Kabul fell, the Sun newspaper ran with the ‘exclusive’ that a production of Romeo and Juliet – which has been playing at Shakespeare’s Globe for several weeks now – provides the audience with contact details for the Samaritans at the end of the performance.
25 August - Theatre director calls for change to ‘unworkable’ 1m on-stage distancing rule
25 August - Immersive theatre and rehearsal space to open in Elephant and Castle
25 August - Survey shows racism is a stain on entertainment industry
More than half of all actors from ethnic minorities have directly experienced racism in the workplace, a major new study has revealed.
The UK survey of more than 1,300 actors found that 64% had experienced racist stereotyping during an audition, while 55% suffered racist behaviour at work.
25 August - Creative freelancers need enhanced support measures post-pandemic, report claims
Creative freelancers remain “poorly understood and underrepresented” and should have access to enhanced support including dedicated income support and investment in home-working and hot-desking spaces after the pandemic, a new report has argued.
25 August - Wicked composer says live theatre will continue to 'bounce back'
25 August - Set materials 'double in price' as theatres struck by nationwide shortage
British theatre is being hit by an unprecedented rise in the cost of basic set-making materials, adding thousands of pounds to budgets and putting productions under threat, designers and production staff have warned.
24 August - I’m finally seeing live shows again – and I feel like a kid in a sweetshop
24 August - Edinburgh Fringe Society launches £7.5m fundraiser for Covid recovery
24 August - New York Theater Leaders Agree On A New Deal For Broadway
23 August - Shows are returning, but have disabled theatregoers been left behind?
While the industry is starting to return to a semblance of normality, not everyone feels relief. Proposals mooted in lockdown to make theatre more accessible have yet to be made reality, disabled practitioners and theatregoers tell Natasha Tripney
23 August - London’s West End is recovering from Covid crisis, says Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury, the central London landlord that owns parts of Chinatown, Soho and Covent Garden, has reported that Londoners and domestic tourists are returning in growing numbers, bringing footfall back to about half the level before the pandemic.
23 August - Producers can help banish body-shaming in theatre – here’s how
As a fat woman working in costume, it was disheartening to read in The Stage about actors who are experiencing panic attacks and anxiety about returning to work after the privations of the pandemic due, in no small part, to the fear of negative costume fittings as a result of gaining weight.
23 August - Complete data from Events Research Programme reveals risk level 'in line with or below' national average
23 August - Embrace the chaos – a willingness to improvise will be key to theatre’s future
Earlier this year, I wrote in praise of slowness. I suggested a slower theatre culture might also be a kinder, more inclusive theatre culture. A few weeks later, I spoke to those running festivals and several talked about the benefits of a less frenzied, slower offering for both artists and audiences.
21 August - The West End star who worked as carer during lockdown
20 August - Government data shows mass participation events can happen 'safely'
Data from the UK government’s Covid pilot scheme to test the return of big crowds to venues has shown major events “can be conducted safely”.
Data from 37 trial events, including the British Grand Prix and Wimbledon, found case numbers were “largely in line with or below” community infection rates during the four-month programme.
19 August - Arts job prospects up 46% on summer 2020 – survey
There has been a “dramatic” 46% uplift in the number of arts, entertainment and hospitality employers looking to hire this summer compared to the same time last year, according to new research.
19 August - A Quiet Summer at Edinburgh’s Festivals
EDINBURGH — Quiet isn’t a word usually associated with August in Edinburgh, where the International Festival and the bigger, more ragtag Fringe usually promise a cultural hurly-burly. But the pandemic here, as elsewhere, has readjusted realities, as was evident from the moment I arrived last week, primed for a whirlwind weekend of playgoing.
19 August - Did the pent-up demand we had all predicted actually materialise?
During lockdown we couldn’t wait to welcome back audiences, but when the doors finally opened it wasn’t the party we all expected, says Tom Littler, artistic director of London’s Jermyn Street Theatre
18 August - I'm a dancer who lost half my work in the pandemic – how do I save enough to pay off my help-to-buy mortgage and move on with my life?
18 August - As Venues Reopen, Will Streamed Theater Still Have a Place?
If you were marshaling evidence that streaming theater can pay off, look no further than the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, which sold 35,000 tickets and grossed over $3 million during the pandemic from magic shows and other performances that could be watched at home.
18 August - Spotlight updates its platform to be more inclusive of gender-diverse actors
Spotlight has updated the gender options on its platform, including removing the requirement for performers to categorise themselves when applying to join, in a move to be more inclusive of transgender, binary and gender-diverse artists.
17 August - Broadway’s COVID Expert Talks Returning to Theaters Safely
It’s the question on all of Broadway’s mind right now: With the delta variant spreading just as shows are getting back up and running, how do we all — cast, crew and audiences — return to theaters safely?
17 August - London West End bosses predict a spending surge next year as the tourists return
16 August - Are £325 Cabaret tickets ‘immoral’?
Three hundred and twenty-five pounds is a lot of money. It’s the kind of sum you spend on a holiday (remember them) or a laptop – or, it seems, to have Eddie Redmayne purr “Willkommen” in your ear.
16 August - Sarah Frankcom’s departure shows change is hard – does theatre really want it?
Like everybody else, I do not know the full story behind Sarah Frankcom’s departure from LAMDA after less than two years as its director.
There are always many sides to any story. What I do know comes from LAMDA’s terse statement confirming her departure and saying that a replacement is being sought.
15 August - Rishi Sunak interview: the chancellor on all that he loves in the arts
Rishi Sunak bounds into the London Wonderground like an A-lister walking onto a film set. Children look up from their Cornettos and flock to greet their celebrity chancellor, as he makes his way through the drizzly family festival in Earls Court.
15 August - Cinderella faces ugly future unless Prince Rishi comes to rescue, warns Andrew Lloyd Webber
13 August - ‘There was a distinct lack of help’: can theatre clean up its act on mental health?
10 August - Northern Ireland opens £80k fund to support new digital work
Artists in Northern Ireland can apply for grants of up to £10,000 each to create new digital work, as part of an Arts Council-backed initiative to support the sector’s sustainability after the pandemic.
10 August - West End shows halted as self-isolation rules hit theatres
While the end of lockdown restrictions promised a show-stopping return for the West End, self-isolation troubles mean London theatres are still being forced to put productions on ice.
Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jersey Boys and The Lion King have all been forced to cancel performances in recent days after cast or crew members were pinged by the NHS app.
10 August - Equity presses government for clarity on ‘visa-free touring’ in 19 EU states
Equity is calling on the government to provide clarity on its claim that performers will not need visas for “short-term” work in 19 EU states, warning that the lack of further information risks “continued descent into farce”.
9 August - Formalwear and theatre tickets back in the basket as events return, latest retail data shows
9 August - The arts have helped us out of national crises before, and can do so again
9 August - University funding cuts won’t just affect artists – they will limit opportunities for all
8 August - Project leaks artist pay rates to force transparency
7 August - Fear of pingdemic leads Britons to cut down their social lives
Cautions Britons have largely ignored “freedom day”, with social contacts still lower than last summer.
Figures compiled for the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies show that contact patterns have not risen since the end of restrictions on July 19 and are barely a quarter of pre-pandemic levels.
6 August - Small building, big thinking: London’s fringe theatres fight back
In between dreaded pings, London’s theatres are lighting back up. After the so-called ‘Freedom day’ go-ahead on July 19, many venues in the capital are beginning to return to full capacity for the first time in over a year. But for fringe theatres, it isn’t so simple.
6 August - Cameron Mackintosh on government insurance plans: 'Commercial theatre has once again been ignored'
6 August - The Government’s insurance scheme is good for insurance companies – but disastrous for theatres
6 August - 'Not fit for purpose': Theatre leaders hit out at ‘unworkable’ insurance scheme
Industry heavyweights including Cameron Mackintosh, Michael Harrison and Sonia Friedman have criticised the government’s recently announced insurance scheme, labelling it “prohibitively expensive” and warning that it does not cover shows forced to cancel due to enforced isolation.
6 August - Live events to be protected by £750m government-backed insurance scheme
UK music festivals and other live events are to be protected by a government-backed insurance scheme if they have to cancel because of Covid.
It will begin next month with a £750m budget to cover cancellation costs if events are legally unable to happen due to government Covid restrictions.
5 August - Music festivals and live events will get Government-backed insurance to protect them from Covid cancellation
5 August - ‘Too late’: UK live events sector promised Covid insurance scheme
5 August - Government has ‘failed to fix’ EU touring issues, industry warns
Industry voices campaigning for a solution to the post-Brexit touring crisis have accused the government of failing to fix the issue, after it made an announcement claiming to have confirmed visa-free touring for performers in most EU countries.
5 August - Government accused of ‘misleading’ musicians over Brexit barriers to European tours
5 August - Theatre is in danger of a mental health crisis – we must look after each other
On Saturday, an envelope landed on my doormat containing the Society of London Theatre’s Official London Theatre Show Guide. Emblazoned across the cover were the words: “We are thrilled to be back on stage.” Its arrival, the first in 17 months, was a clear sign of the green shoots of theatre’s recovery.
5 August - Scottish theatres get the go-ahead at last, but it shows the patchiness of UK’s recovery
4 August - Further £150 million released for previous Culture Recovery Fund recipients
Organisations that have already received grants from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund will be able to apply this month for further emergency support, Arts Council England has announced.
4 August - Further £17million emergency funding reaches Culture Organisations and Performing Arts Venues
331 cultural organisations and performing arts venues across Scotland have received a total of £17million in the latest round of emergency Covid-19 funds from the Scottish Government through Creative Scotland.
4 August - Let’s use this year’s hybrid Edinburgh Fringe as a dry run for a fairer ‘new normal’
During last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the fringe that never was – I went around the city, visiting a different empty venue every day. There, my photographer brother Peter would take a picture of me wearing my reviewing kit – a bike and a loud shirt – and I’d write a short note of what was missing.
4 August - Government announces visa-free touring plans for 19 EU countries
The government has stated 19 EU countries have now agreed to visa-free short-term touring.
Post-Brexit plans for touring (or lack thereof) had drawn withering criticism from across the arts sector, with the National stating it is unable to tour for a number of years due to the new costs involved, while Elton John and others have lambasted government inaction.
3 August - £7m government scheme to offer flexible apprenticeships to creative sector
3 August - British culture will suffer if we copy Macron’s bribery of the young
2 August - Nica Burns: Producers should plan for all scenarios as tourism remains uncertain
Nimax chief executive Nica Burns has warned that tourism in the West End will remain below pre-pandemic levels well into next year, despite moves to allow fully vaccinated tourists from the EU and the US to come to England without needing to quarantine.
2 August - Don’t dismiss digital – it has spurred creativity and widened theatre’s appeal
David Benedict’s recent column on the pitfalls of filmed theatre was a good read, but it was interesting to consider it in the context of the Boundless Creativity report, published the same week by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
2 August - Partnership, generosity and support will help Scottish theatre overcome this crisis
A passage from Good to Great, by US business author Jim Collins, really struck a chord with me. In it he quotes admiral James Stockdale saying: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”