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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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”.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.”
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?
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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’
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.
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.
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.
19 March - Minister Is Challenged Over Support for Theatres & the Entertainment Industry
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.