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31 March - Leeds sets up grant scheme to restart live performance

Artists, venues and performing arts companies in Leeds will have access to a newly created funding package from the local council, intended to kickstart live culture across the city after lockdown.

Read more here

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31 March - Reading and Leeds Festival: Covid vaccine passport need 'likely'

Music fans at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals will “almost certainly” need some sort of vaccine passport, the organiser has said.

Festival boss Melvin Benn said he was confident the events would go ahead after plans to ease lockdown were announced in February.

Read more here

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31 March - Mental well-being of offstage workers to be focus of webinar series

A series of webinars is being launched to support the mental health and well-being of offstage workers.

The series will be hosted by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, with experts presenting each one. They will be held between April 26 and May 31.

Read more here

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31 March - Over 60 per cent of theatregoers would be happy to use vaccine passports, research shows

WhatsOnStage has been conducting research on attitudes towards “vaccine passports”.

Polling close to 2000 theatregoers, we asked what their opinions are of these passports, also known as “Covid status certification” – which would be in the form of either proof of a negative Covid test or of a vaccination. To make the point explicitly – these passports are not exclusively for those who have been vaccinated.

Read more here

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30 March - Artists’ side-jobs during the pandemic will help them make better theatre

Can we take inspiration from those who stepped out of the sun? Many of us define ourselves by our creative roles, taking side-jobs at the same time to keep afloat. For many of us, the side-job is now our only income. But can we see the positives in this? Can we use this to our advantage? I think so.

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30 March - Why adland should stand with theatre

The theatre industry has been hard hit by the pandemic, and this could have consequences for advertising too.

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30 March - Group bookings will have to provide name and contact details of every person to attend theatre and live music

Theatre goers and sports fans will be faced with providing the contact details of every single member of their group when booking tickets to major events, under new Government guidance. 

Read more here

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29 March - Soho's Windmill to reopen as theatre following council approval

Former Soho strip club the Windmill is to reopen as a theatre with a 250-seat auditorium after Westminster City Council approved a licensing application.

The venue lost its sexual entertainment licence in January 2018, and has since been purchased by Immerse London Ltd.

Read more here

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29 March - Why am I buying tickets for events that won’t happen? Because of hope – and boredom

After multiple cancellations for various shows, my inbox was swimming with virtual gift cards. Thank God for Michael at the box office

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29 March - How English National Opera is helping people with long Covid to manage their breathing

Singers know more about breathing than most. So last year, English National Opera contacted the NHS with its idea for supporting people with long Covid suffering from breathlessness and associated anxiety. Singers, doctors and participants tell Rosemary Waugh how ENO Breathe has given patients a new appreciation for music

Read more here

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28 March - Vaccine passports could help reopen society - Dowden

Vaccine passports could be a “tool in the short term” to reopen theatres and sports stadiums, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said.

The government needs to “look at all options” to “make areas of our national life viable”, he said, but no decisions have yet been made.

Read more here

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27 March - Coping with Covid: ‘All theatre jobs collapsed — luckily, I had an encore’

After working his way up in his dream job, Jack Sterne, 27, feared that it was curtains for his career when the virus emptied theatres.

“Theatre can be quite feudal; it takes a long time to work your way up. When I first earned £25,000 I was over the moon. It seemed like a lot of money. Then they sent us home on March 10 and everything changed.”

Read more here

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26 March - What will theatres look like when they reopen as part of the lockdown roadmap?

The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating the arts, with theatres and arts venues forced to lower their curtains for the best part of a year.

But it is hoped the doors will open as restrictions lift come the spring and theatres are getting ready to welcome visitors again – albeit with social distancing measures in place, at least at first.

Read more here

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26 March - Critics are gatekeepers of women and people of colour’s work, writers argue

Critics act as “gatekeepers” for plays by women and people of colour and have a responsibility to actively push for greater equality, playwrights April De Angelis and Satinder Chohan have argued.

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25 March - Let them entertain us... creative industries will lead our recovery

This week it was revealed that UK vinyl spending is set to overtake CDs for the first time in 40 years, a remarkable development which speaks to the yearning of British fans to be closer to the artists they love. It’s a striking reminder of the physicality of culture. People want to be close to art, cinema and music — to experience them with all their senses.

Read more here

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25 March - Could Covid kill off the interval?

Safety protocols make intervals a logistical nightmare. But as history has shown, both audiences and theatres value these pauses

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25 March - Major events set to get green light to return in Scotland this summer

The Scottish Government has revealed that it is working on a plan to help bring back “major events” in the summer months as long as infection rates are kept down.

Read more here

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25 March - Theatre Artists Fund receives a further £500k from Mackintosh Foundation

Cameron Mackintosh today confirmed a further £500,000 in additional support from his Foundation to the Theatre Artists Fund, following an industry-wide campaign on the anniversary of theatre shutdown.

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25 March - Government must solve Brexit barriers for creative workers, warn Lords

House of Lords peers have urged the government to negotiate a solution for UK creatives working in Europe, warning that current restrictions are putting the sector’s future at risk.

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25 March - Great art is not therapeutic – it’s better than that

The WHO’s new ‘healing art’ campaign is going to do little for a nation reeling from a year of financial hardship and social isolation

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25 March - NYC Mayor announces program to vaccinate theater workers

“It’s time to raise the curtain and bring Broadway back,” – Mayor said he expects Broadway comeback in the fall. Said city will set up dedicated vaccination sites for Broadway and mobile sites for Off Broadway workers.

Read more here

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25 March - Trusting the government’s roadmap could be theatre’s biggest ever gamble

Last week marked a palpable flurry of announcements about productions returning to the West End and of major tours resuming from mid-May and June. This was made possible by the government’s roadmap out of lockdown published a few weeks ago, which brought with it much hope and excitement.

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25 March - Half the budget and a musical a year: the National Theatre faces the future

Britain’s flagship venue is re-opening in June, but, says artistic director Rufus Norris, Covid has changed what it does forever

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25 March - Simon Callow on Good Morning Britain

‘Most of the people who are most in need have not received anything at all’ – Actor Simon Callow calls for the govt to provide more support within the creative industry.

Watch the video here

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24 March - Welsh arts granted £30m Covid recovery fund boost

A further £30 million has been committed by the Welsh government to help the country’s cultural sector survive the pandemic.

As coronavirus restrictions begin to relax, the government said the newly announced top-up funding would aid the sector’s recovery over the next six months and provide “building blocks for the future”.

Read more here

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24 March - Shakespeare's Globe has confirmed it will live-stream a variety of its productions this year

Shakespeare’s Globe has announced its season of shows will begin on 19 May.

In line with social distancing measures, performances will featured limited audience capacity for an initial period.

Read more here

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24 March - It is time to bring theatre out of the Victorian era – our outdated models do not support freelancers

The Big Freelancer Report, published this week, will make for necessarily uncomfortable reading for pretty much everyone in theatre, but especially for the ageing institutions at the heart of it.

At 142 pages, it lives up to its billing, but it’s worth a thorough read because it grapples with the biggest issue facing theatre as we emerge from the pandemic: how we retain and sustain a freelance workforce that represents a majority of the sector, but has been thoroughly let down over the past 12 months (and more).

Read more here

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24 March - ‘Festival of Brexit': first events for divisive £120m project announced

A celebration of the British weather and the largest grow-your-own food project of modern times will be among the events being staged for a nationwide festival of creativity aimed at bringing the UK together in 2022.

Read more here

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24 March - Diversity in theatre: too much emphasis on emerging artists, West End stars warn

West End performers including Irvine Iqbal, Cedric Neal and Liam Tamne have argued that the existing pool of ethnically diverse talent in theatre is being overlooked, with conversations about representation mainly focused on emerging artists.

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23 March - Chichester Festival Theatre: 'The show must go on'

Theatres across the UK have been closed for a year due to lockdown restrictions.

Not only have audiences not been able to access live performances but community work, such as workshops for those with mental health issues, have also had to stop.

Louise Wrigglesford, community and outreach manager of Chichester Festival Theatre, said: “I know we can bring the theatre back and I know we can fill it.”

Read more here

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23 March - The Scottish Government must stop in-fighting and save the Edinburgh Fringe

The world’s largest arts festival is in dire straits, and needs urgent public support to survive the pandemic. Is Nicola Sturgeon listening?

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22 March - Theatremakers have moved mountains during the pandemic, and their efforts must be remembered

Some producers have moved mountains, often at great expense and in the midst of major uncertainty

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22 March - 'I got a job on a fishing trawler' – Covid: one year on, stars of music and theatre look back

In the second of our two-parter, rock stars, roadies, actors, dancers, composers and comics describe how their lives have been transformed without live shows – and imagine what now lies ahead

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22 March - Lyn Gardner: Honesty is the best policy for critics to help theatre revive and flourish

The announcements are flooding in as theatres valiantly attempt to reopen in difficult, uncertain times. Live performance is a risky business, and currently the stakes are upped for any theatre brave enough to throw open its doors and invite an audience – and the critics – inside.

Read more here

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21 March - 'We needed to rescue the nation from despair': culture's year of Covid

Comedians went virtual, Ai Weiwei went to Portugal – and Bake Off pledged the show would go on. In the first of a two-part series, cultural figures look back on a year that shook their industry.

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21 March - Only the arts can help us understand our lives in lockdown

The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919 was never memorialised in art. We must not let history repeat itself

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21 March - Outdoor shows and decoy audiences herald return of live theatre this summer

Live entertainment is coming back in two halves, much like a traditional night at the theatre. First, a new breed of open-air shows, solo performances and inventive productions for smaller audiences will lead the way this spring, then in late summer and early autumn many of Britain’s grander theatres will follow, once audiences can safely be admitted again in capacity crowds.

Read more here

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20 March - Plea for Covid vaccine passport to reopen arts

Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, has said that it will be “very, very difficult” for theatres to reopen with social distancing in place, as he piled pressure on Michael Gove to approve Covid certificates.

Read more here

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19 March - Freelancers' Voices Have Been 'Marginalised' During The Pandemic, Says Deputy Mayor Justine Simons OBE

The Deputy Mayor of Culture and the Creative Industries in London writes about the fragility of life as a freelancer and the importance of supporting creatives during and after the pandemic.

Read more here

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19 March - Boris Johnson's youngest brother Max hits out at PM's failure to reopen theatres

Max Johnson, the youngest of Stanley Johnson’s six children says he fears ‘for the future of theatre’

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19 March - Theatre worker committed to funerals job after pandemic forced career switch

A stage manager who swapped the theatre for funeral work says has “really surprised myself with how passionate I have become about it all”.e.

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19 March - Number of creative freelancers in work fell by 38,000 in 2020, research claims

The number of freelancers working in creative occupations has fallen by 38,000 since the start of 2020, according to new research that will add to growing concerns about the effects of the pandemic on theatre’s workforce.

Read more here

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19 March - Livid John Barrowman slams MP Oliver Dowden for focusing on sports over struggling theatre industry: ‘I’m sick and tired of it'

John Barrowman has slammed culture secretary MP Oliver Dowden for ignoring the struggling theatre industry while planning to reopen sports stadiums. 

The 54-year-old Dancing On Ice star appeared on Good Morning Britain this morning to promote new show All Star Musicals, but spoke out after realising he appeared immediately after Mr Dowden spoke to Kate Garraway and Charlotte Hawkins. 

 

Read more here

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19 March - Minister Is Challenged Over Support for Theatres & the Entertainment Industry

Minister Is Challenged Over Support for Theatres & the Entertainment Industry

Watch here

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18 March - Ghost Shows podcast to explore pandemic’s cancelled productions

A new podcast series is to explore the untold stories of theatremakers whose shows were interrupted by the pandemic.

Called Ghost Shows, it is produced by Freelancers Make Theatre Work and Curtain Call, and hosted by opera director Adele Thomas.

Read more here

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18 March - Diversity in theatre starts with funding, so stop preaching and chip in

For 30 years I have been diverting the modest fees I would otherwise receive from playing the organ into funding small choral scholarships for young musicians. I do it for three reasons.

Read more here

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18 March - Michael Ball '100% backs' vaccine passports to bring audiences back to the West End

Michael Ball said he would ‘100% back’ the idea of vaccine passports if it meant theatres desperate to reopen their doors could perform to full capacity.

Read more here

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18 March - Collaborating across borders makes the world a bigger place

Between Brexit and the pandemic, collaborating internationally has become harder than ever. Director Maria Aberg explains how she rose to the challenge by creating her own company, buoyed by the solidarity shown by Europe’s theatremakers

Read more here

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18 March - Raising the curtain again: London theatres prepare to re-open a year on

LONDON (Reuters) – In an empty London theatre, producer Nica Burns sits among the once buzzing stalls hoping audiences will soon be back for good to watch live performances.

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17 March - UK venues lit red to mark anniversary of closures

Venues across the UK including Trafalgar Theatre in London, Salisbury Playhouse and the Royal Shakespeare Company have lit their buildings red to mark the anniversary of when theatres closed due to Covid-19.

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17 March - Over £12,000 raised in one day for the Theatre Artists Fund on the anniversary of UK theatre closures

This week marked one year since theatre closures across the UK due to the pandemic.

To mark the day, we called on the theatre community and industry professionals to support us in highlighting the plight of freelancers and raising awareness for the Theatre Artists Fund, using the social media hashtags #16March, #TheatreArtistsFund and #FirstInLastOut – referencing the fact that theatre workers were first into lockdown and will be among the last to return to work.

Read more here

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17 March - Equity calls for basic income guarantee for creative workers

The government is being urged to introduce a basic income guarantee for creative workers as part of a new campaign launched by Equity.

This would see creative workers offered a payment each month – whether or not they are working – during and after the pandemic.

Read more here

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17 March - 50 East Anglia arts companies team up to offer jobs to young unemployed

More than 50 arts organisations from across East Anglia have joined forces to provide jobs to unemployed young people, in a bid to widen career accessibility post-Covid and restart the cultural sector.

Read more here

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17 March - After a year is it time to reopen theatres and live venues in Wales?

Test events should be held to help the arts sector reopen, says a campaign group exactly a year after all theatres and performance venues were closed by Covid.

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17 March - Scottish theatres eye possible June reopenings under roadmap

The Scottish government has provided limited information about its plans for allowing theatres to reopen as the country comes out of lockdown.

However, the predicted movement in the tier system of restrictions has been enough for Eden Court in Inverness to confirm plans for events to be held outdoors this summer.

Read more here

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17 March - 40% of theatre workers laid off during pandemic – BECTU survey

Nearly 40% of UK-based theatre workers have been made redundant over the past year, with one in five receiving no money from the government’s support scheme, according to new figures.

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16 March - Theatre one year on - what now?

On the day a year ago that theatres went dark, Front Row explores what impact that has had on the industry with guests including Sonia Friedman, Emma Rice and Amy Ng.

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16 March - A year since the West End went dark, this is what the last twelve months have meant for theatre

This time last year, the PM told theatres to close their doors. Nick Curtis charts a choppy year for the capital’s stages.

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16 March - Devastating impact of Covid on London theatre and arts as 40% made redundant

Nearly 40 per cent of theatre and arts workers in London have been made redundant since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, ITV News can reveal.

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16 March - U.K. Theaters Mark One Year of Shutdown, With 95% Worse Off Due to Pandemic

Exactly one year since U.K. theaters shuttered their doors, 95% report being worse off due to the COVID-19 crisis.

A new survey by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and nationwide org UK Theatre paints a worrying picture of an industry that has been crippled by the pandemic and faces huge financial strain, but remains resilient.

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16 March - A year on: survey reveals theatre losses of £200m and a quarter of freelancers have ceased trading

Theatres have collectively reported losses of nearly £200 million following a year of closure, according to a survey which also reveals that a quarter of freelancers have gone out of business or ceased trading because of the pandemic.

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16 March - 'The last year for theatre has been hell'

“We were walking innocently into the future with no idea what was coming,” says Nica Burns, chief executive of Nimax Theatres.

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16 March - Harriet Harman proposes plan for UK musicians to tour EU post-Brexit

Government ignorance of the arts is putting British musicians’ livelihoods at risk, Harriet Harman has argued, in a call for an end to the post-Brexit bureaucracy for musicians looking to tour in the EU.

Read more here

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15 March - YouTube launches £80,000 scheme to support digital theatre

YouTube has launched a scheme worth up to £80,000 that will support theatremakers to create digital work.

The Digital Theatre Initiative is designed to “help participants continue innovation in digital theatre, break down boundaries, make the arts accessible to more people and ultimately encourage more people to engage with live theatre”, said a statement from YouTube.

Read more here

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15 March - When stages are dark, theatre lives on in your memories

Theatre is an artform of the memory. A night at the theatre is a fugitive experience. The players may come back the next evening and perform the same show, but no one will ever see it again exactly the same way as you did

Read more here

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