July 2020

BBC News logo

31 July - Return of indoor shows delayed and masks enforced

The socially-distanced reopening of indoor performances in England has been delayed until at least 15 August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

The easing of restrictions at theatres and music venues was due to start this weekend, but has been postponed amid concerns over a rise in virus cases.

Read more here

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31 July - The Government announces that some coronavirus restrictions will not be lifted tomorrow

The Government has announced this afternoon that the planned easing of restrictions tomorrow, Saturday 1 August, will not be going ahead due to a rise in the number of new coronavirus cases across the country.

Read more here

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30 July - Arts and culture given £53m from Welsh Government

The arts and culture sector is to be supported by £53m from the Welsh Government.

The money is to help individuals and organisations cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

“What has happened to the £6m – within the space of a month, £59m has been reduced to £53m and not a penny has reached the sector.”

Read more here

The Stage logo

29 July - Freelancers: ‘Government continues to ignore us with pitiful funding figure’

A £500 million allocation of grants for cultural organisations from the government has been branded “pitiful” by a campaign group for freelancers

Read more here

The Stage logo

29 July - Marlowe in Canterbury prepares to cut a third of its workforce

Almost a third of Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre face redundancy as a result of the impact of the pandemic on its operations

Read more here

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29 July - Bristol Old Vic commences redundancy consultations with staff

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Bristol Old Vic has embarked on a consultation process with affected staff in the face of a significant reduction in the work it can undertake and the income it can generate. This follows similar announcements from theatres across the regions. It is anticipated that over 20 roles from its full-time workforce of 60 could be at risk.

Read more here

UK Gov logo

28 July - Government announces new £500 million scheme to kickstart film and television production struggling to secure insurance for Covid-related costs

Dowden: ‘Jump-start’ for UK’s leading creative industries

Read more here

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28 July - The Phantom of the Opera has been 'permanently shut down' in the West End

The Phantom of the Opera will close in the West End in a stark blow for London theatre fans.

Read more here

The Stage logo

27 July - It’s time for philanthropists to stand up for theatre's freelancers

Theatre’s freelancers are facing a crisis, it’s time for philanthropists to stand up, says John Studzinski, founder of the Genesis Foundation.”

Read more here

The Guardian Logo

23 July - Government too late for UK culture sector in Covid-19 crisis, say MPs

Report by DCMS committee slams response and ‘vague and slow-coming’ reopening plan

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/jul/23/government-too-late-for-uk-culture-sector-in-covid-19-crisis-say-mps

“The failure of the government to act quickly has jeopardised the future of institutions that are part of our national life and the livelihoods of those who work for them,” said the committee’s chair, Conservative MP Julian Knight.

UK Gov logo

23 July - Impact of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors: First Report

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and its associated public bodies.

https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2022/documents/19516/default/

Sport, culture and tourism all operate to some extent by bringing people together for shared experiences. All have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis. While this report focuses on sectors within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s remit, it is important to remember that their difficulties will spill into the wider economy, and the health and wellbeing of the population as a whole.

The Guardian Logo

22 July - Sing into the funnel please: inside the Covid-19 lab hoping to declare singing safe

Britain’s 40,000 choirs have all been silenced, brass and woodwind players too. We meet the scientists racing to find out exactly how dangerous blowing instruments and singing are

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/jul/22/sing-funnel-covid-19-lab-hoping-declare-singing-safe

Singing is so important to people, spiritually, emotionally and physically

The Stage logo

21 July - Lloyd Webber calls on government for full theatre reopening date

Andrew Lloyd Webber has urged the government to provide clarity on when theatres can reopen fully

https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/news/coronavirus-lloyd-webber-calls-on-government-for-full-theatre-reopening-date?

Andrew Lloyd Webber has added his voice to calls on the government to provide clarity on when theatres can fully reopen. He said it was not economically viable to open theatres with reduced capacities.

BBC News logo

21 July - Job loss threat as Sheffield theatres stay closed

Almost a third of jobs at Sheffield Theatres are at risk following the group’s announcement its venues won’t now fully reopen their doors until next spring because of the coronavirus pandemic

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-leeds-53445680?

The group, which runs the Crucible and the Lyceum in Sheffield, says it will only run a “pop-up” season this year, with activity and audiences being massively reduced.

Social distancing and rules around the coronavirus means it anticipates it will only have 57% of its audiences back in the next financial year, leading to a drop in income.

Because of this, a consultation has been launched looking at making 72 staff members redundant.

The Guardian Logo

21 July - After the pandemic, Britain's arts sector will be less diverse than ever | Nathalie Olah

The culture bailout is unlikely to reach smaller organisations or people on lower incomes, says the author Nathalie Olah

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/21/pandemic-britain-arts-coronavirus-culture-bailout-unlikely-reach-diverse-working-class?

The bailout is unlikely to reach small organisations or people on lower incomes, leaving the industry open only to a wealthy few

The Guardian Logo

20 July - My latest role: how theatre-makers recast themselves as key workers – in pictures

When Covid-19 struck, theatre photographer Ali Wright lost her livelihood – alongside thousands of other freelance stage creatives and actors. 

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/gallery/2020/jul/20/my-latest-role-ali-wright-photographer-theatre-makers-key-workers-in-pictures

Many have turned their skills to use during lockdown as key workers. Wright marks their resilience with a series of portraits, called My Latest Role

The Stage logo

20 July - Clarity urged over how £59m will benefit Welsh arts sector

Theatre workers being asked to pay back furlough contributions

https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/coronavirus-theatre-workers-being-asked-to-pay-back-furlough-contributions

Cast and offstage workers are being asked to sign contracts requiring them to repay employer furlough contributions from their wages once shows resume, according to industry bodiess.

The Stage logo

17 July - Clarity urged over how £59m will benefit Welsh arts sector

Concerns are being raised in Wales about how £59 million of funding announced as part of the government’s investment package will be distributed to the country’s at-risk arts sector.

https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/coronavirus-clarity-urged-over-how-59m-will-benefit-welsh-arts-sector

When the issue was raised in the Senedd by Plaid Cymru MS Siân Gwenllian, ministers said they could not yet confirm what funding will be made available for the arts.

The Guardian Logo

17 July - Coronavirus leaves British theatre 'in danger of losing its Marcus Rashfords'

Doctor Foster actor Prasanna Puwanarajah warns that many in a new generation of superb talent may be forced to leave the industry

https://amp.theguardian.com/stage/2020/jul/17/prasanna-puwanarajah-marcus-rashford-coronavirus-threat-diversity-theatre

…so many emerging performers who you might call the sector’s Marcus Rashfords. They will need to leave and they won’t be able to come back. If he and his colleagues aren’t theatre’s ‘crown jewels’ then I don’t know what we’re saving.

UK Gov logo

17 July - AUDIENCES BACK IN THEATRES FROM 1 AUGUST

Indoor performances with socially distanced audiences will be able to take place across the country from 1 August 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/audiences-back-in-theatres-from-1-august

Audiences adhering to social distancing will be able to return to indoor theatres, music and performance venues from 1 August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced today.

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17 July - National Lottery Project Grants are returning

Arts Council England have published some additional guidance that explains how the fund will work between now and April 2021.

https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/projectgrants

“On 22 July we’ll be open again for applications, with a budget of £59.8 million available until April 2021.

We have prioritised reopening this programme to help fund independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers as quickly as possible. “

The Guardian Logo

15 July - SIX TOUR AXED

UK tour for hit show Six and top music acts axed due to local lockdown concerns

“UK tour for hit show Six and top music acts axed due to local lockdown concerns….”

The Guardian Logo

15 July - FREELANCERS - WHO WILL SECURE OUR FUTURE?

I’m one of the freelancers who makes British theatre happen. Who will secure our future?

“Saving buildings and administrative jobs is pointless without protecting artists…”

The Stage logo

14 July - BIRMINGHAM TOWN HALL & SYMPHONY HALL REDUNDANCIES

Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall begin redundancy consultation

“Birmingham’s Town Hall and Symphony Hall have entered into a redundancy consultation as a result of extended closure due to Covid-19.

A press statement from the two concert halls said that half of its staff are at risk of redundancy…”

Reuters Logo

10 July - JAPAN: OUTBREAK TRACED TO TOKYO THEATRE

Japan traces new coronavirus outbreak to Tokyo theatre boy-band show

“Tokyo health officials appealed on Tuesday for more than 800 theatregoers to get tested for the novel coronavirus after a production starring Japanese boy-band members was found to be the source of at least 20 cases…”

BBC News logo

10 July - DIVERSITY: ARTS IN WALES FAILING TO MEET MARK

Diversity: Arts in Wales ‘failing to meet mark’

“The Arts Council of Wales has admitted it is “failing to meet the mark” when it comes to equality in the arts.

It comes as a group set up by artists and organisations warned the sector would “inevitably lose people” if diversity was not addressed…..”

The Guardian Logo

10 July - ARTS BAILOUT IS MORE DIVISIVE THAN IT LOOKS

Rishi Sunak’s arts bailout is more divisive than it looks

“The government’s Covid-19 response is opening up deep divisions. Theatres and museums get help but creatives are being cut loose…..”

The Guardian Logo

10 July - WHAT'S THE FUTURE OF THEATRE?

What’s the future of theatre? A Scottish seaside town may have all the answers

“Transparent wraparound screens, touring deckchair pop-ups, rooftop suction devices … our writer talks to the designers rethinking theatre for the Covid age – and finds Dunoon leading the way…..”

The Stage logo

10 July - 1/3 OF FREELANCERS CONSIDERING LEAVING INDUSTRY

Third of freelancers considering leaving industry – report

“A quarter of freelance theatre workers have been unable to access emergency income of any kind and a third are considering leaving the industry, according to a survey of more than 8,000 participants…”

The Stage logo

10 July - GENESIS FOUNDATION: £100k FREELANCER FUND

Genesis Foundation offers freelancers £100k support boost

“A £100,000 fund for freelance artists has been launched by the Genesis Foundation, as its founder calls for philanthropists to play their part in helping theatre recover…..”

The Stage logo

10 July - NATIONAL THEATRE: 400 REDUNDANCIES GO AHEAD

National Theatre to push ahead with 400 casual staff redundancies.

“The National Theatre has confirmed that redundancies of 400 casual workers will still go ahead despite the government’s announcement of a £1.57 billion support package for the industry…..”

The Stage logo

10 July - SHOW MUST GO ON: T-SHIRTS RAISE £250k

Show Must Go On charity T-shirts raise £250,000

“Specially designed Show Must Go On T-shirts have raised £250,000 for charity.

The T-shirts have been on sale alongside other items, including mugs and badges, and were created by Damien Stanton and Chris Marcus under the Theatre Support Fund banner…”

The Stage logo

10 July - MORE THEATRES CONFIRM REDUNDANCIES

More theatres confirm redundancies as casualties mount

“Theatres in Bristol, Coventry and Exeter are among the latest to confirm they have begun redundancy consultations, as the fallout from months of closure continues…..”

Whats on Stage logo

10 July - CULTURE MINISTER: THEATRES WILL REOPEN SHORTLY

Culture Minister says theatres will re-open ‘very shortly’ once safety measures are tested.

“The government’s culture minister Caroline Dinenage has elaborated on the plan to re-open venues…”

The Times Logo

10 July - GOVERNMENT ARTS BAILOUT NOT A CURE ALL

The government’s arts bailout is not a cure-all for theatres in crisis

“The unexpected £1.57bn rescue package may keep theatres solvent, but it won’t help them to open safely. Stephen Armstrong explains what still needs fixing…”

New York Times Logo

10 July - USA: ARTISTS OF COLOUR DEMANDS FOR CHANGE

USA: Theater Artists of Color Enumerate Demands for Change

“A 29-page document released this week amounts to a call for wholesale restructuring of the system, onstage and backstage, on Broadway and beyond…..”

The Guardian Logo

10 July - BRISTOL'S THEATRES IN PERIL "WE NEED HELP"

We need help as soon as possible’: Bristol’s theatres in peril

“The Old Vic and Tobacco Factory Theatres hope that help from the £1.57bn UK arts sector rescue fund arrives soon…”

The Stage logo

10 July - TEES VALLEY LAUNCHES TASKFORCE

Tees Valley launches taskforce to aid cultural recovery.

“Cultural leaders from the Tees Valley have joined up with representatives from the local tourism and hospitality sectors in a combined effort to help the region recover from the coronavirus pandemic…”

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10 July - ENGLAND'S OUTDOOR THEATRES PREPARE TO OPEN

We’re delighted!’ England’s outdoor theatres prepare to open.

“With a bright and dry weekend forecast, the weather is perfect for England’s outdoor theatres, which now have permission to reopen for live performance. But as the government gave the go-ahead only on Thursday evening, it will still be some time before most shows can go on…”

The Stage logo

10 July - NEW ADVENTURES EMERGING ARTISTS SCHEME

New Adventures announces emerging dance artists for 2020 development scheme

“Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures has confirmed the dancers appointed for the latest iteration of its development scheme Overture…”

SOLT logo

10 July - OFFICIAL GOVT. SAFETY ADVICE FOR PERFORMING ARTS

Performing arts: Guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants.

www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts

The UK Governement official guidance for the Performing Arts industry

The Stage logo

10 July - MICRO-COMMISSIONS FOR D/DEAF & DISABLED ARTISTS

Micro-commissioning scheme launched for D/deaf and disabled artists in Coventry

www.thestage.co.uk/news/micro-commissioning-scheme-launched-for-ddeaf-and-disabled-artists-in-coventry

“A new initiative has been launched to provide micro-commissions to D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists in Coventry and Warwickshire…”

The Stage logo

10 July - THE TRUE COSTS OF BEING A FREELANCER

Freelance director Sophie Ivatts: ‘We are refusing to see the true costs of being freelance in theatre’

www.thestage.co.uk/opinion/freelance-director-sophie-ivatts-we-are-refusing-to-see-the-true-costs-of-being-freelance-in-theatre

“The theatre industry is seen as progressive and inclusive, yet the freelances it depends on continue to be underpaid – to the detriment of their well-being as well as their wallets, argues freelance director Sophie Ivatts…”

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10 July - BIRMINGHAM REP MAY MAKE 40% REDUNDANT

Birmingham Rep may make 40% of roles redundant amid Covid-19 crisis

www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/jul/10/birmingham-rep-may-make-40-percent-roles-redundant-covid-19-crisis

“Despite emergency support funds, cuts may be needed for theatre to survive loss of income during coronavirus closure…..”

The Guardian Logo

10 July - FREELANCERS: THEY MUST NOT BE FORGOTTEN

The Guardian view on arts freelancers: they must not be forgotten

“The government has stepped in to protect the UK’s cultural infrastructure, but has neglected the people who make the arts….”

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/10/the-guardian-view-on-arts-freelancers-they-must-not-be-forgotten

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8 July - ARTS COUNCIL TO FOCUS ON SUPPORTING FREELANCERS

Arts Council to focus reopened grant scheme on supporting freelance artists

www.thestage.co.uk/opinion/freelance-director-sophie-ivatts-we-are-refusing-to-see-the-true-costs-of-being-freelance-in-theatre

“Arts Council England has said it will prioritise artists and individuals when it reopens its grant programme again this month, amid concerns the government’s billion-pound cultural investment package will not support freelancers…”

The Stage logo

8 July - EUPHORIA WILL SOON FADE WITHOUT A PLAN

Euphoria over £1.57bn boost will soon fade without a plan to reopen

www.thestage.co.uk/opinion/euphoria-over-157bn-boost-will-soon-fade-without-a-plan-to-reopen

“The government’s cash boost has thrown the sector a lifeline. Now to the serious business of distribution and the greater challenge of getting the performing arts performing again…”

The Stage logo

8 July - ARTS COUNCIL TO FOCUS ON SUPPORTING FREELANCERS

Arts Council to focus reopened grant scheme on supporting freelance artists

www.thestage.co.uk/news/news/arts-council-to-focus-reopened-grant-scheme-on-supporting-freelance-artists-

“Arts Council England has said it will prioritise artists and individuals when it reopens its grant programme again this month, amid concerns the government’s billion-pound cultural investment package will not support freelancers…”

UK Parliament Logo

7 July - DEBATE: ARTS, CULTURE & HERITAGE: SUPPORT PACKAGE

House of Commons Debate: Arts, Culture and Heritage: Support Package

www.hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-07-07/debates/FD4667EC-2BEF-4596-850A-01B325B61647/ArtsCultureAndHeritageSupportPackage

The Minister for Digital and Culture (Caroline Dinenage):

“….The broader package comes on top of the announcement made last week by the Arts Council to reopen its project grants competition and make an additional £39 million of funding available to support creativity—in particular from freelancers, creative practitioners and independent organisations…”

Jo Stevens [V]:

“…It is vital that this money does not just get hoovered up by the biggest venues with the loudest voices. As well as protecting the jewels in the crown, every town and city lucky enough to have a theatre that is a precious part of the local economy must keep it. We were disappointed that yesterday there was yet again no mention of freelancers, who make up 70% of the workforce in theatre alone. These are highly specialist, creative people—musicians, performers and other professionals—who have been excluded from the Treasury schemes since the start of this crisis. I am concerned that the Department does not understand the nature of the work in this sector, which is why we have continually warned against a one-size-fits-all approach….

…Lastly, I want the Government to focus on the people who have made this sector admired around the world and the specialist and highly skilled jobs they do, because once those are lost, they will be almost impossible to recover…”

Caroline Dinenage:

“…We are entirely aware that this sector and everybody in it, be it the buildings, the venues, the organisations or the freelancers, are fundamental to the British economy and our history, heritage and wellbeing, which is why we are doing everything we can to bring it back as soon as possible, but we have to make sure people can remain safe while engaging with all these sectors.”

John Nicolson (Ochil and South Perthshire) (SNP) [V]:

“…To date, however, the UK Government have shown no intention of supporting those not eligible for the self-employment income support scheme. If that is not addressed, we risk losing a generation who cannot afford to survive without income. Will the Minister clarify how much, if any, of this funding will go to self-employed workers in the creative industries ​who have slipped through the net? How will she ensure that these funds urgently reach the organisations that have been desperately pleading for help?…”

Caroline Dinenage:

“…He is right to mention freelancers who are not swept up in the self-employment income support scheme. We have been working tirelessly over recent weeks and months with the sector to understand what enables people to fall through the gap and what more we can do to support them. As a result of these grants and loans, organisations will be able to resume cultural activity, albeit in a socially distanced way, which will increase employment opportunity for freelancers—at the end of the day, that is what they want more than anything: to be able to get back to work. There is also £120 million of funding for capital projects, which will enable projects that have been paused to resume and all the different craftsmen and specialist heritage construction workers to be employed. This package complements the announcement made last week by the Arts Council that it will reopen its project grants competition and make £59 million of funding available to support creativity, in particular from freelancers. We must not forget that, of the £215 million that the Government have already pledged to this through the emergency support package, £160 million was from Arts Council England, of which £20 million has gone to individuals, including freelancers….”

Jason McCartney (Colne Valley) (Con):

“…Last night, I spoke to a constituent who works as a percussion musician at the annual pantomime at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford; thinking of him and all the other performers, electricians, musicians, actors, ​and especially freelancers, can we please make sure that this funding does get through to support all of them, because they are the real lifeblood of our arts and cultural sector?”

Caroline Dinenage:

“My hon. Friend is right to say that our creative people and artists are the lifeblood of our industry—without them we simply would not have it. The key is that the cultural organisations that rely on audiences have been particularly hard hit, and if we can bring them back into use, there will be work for the freelancers he mentions. The key to bringing them back is the key to supporting the supply chains that feed them. Support has been available through the emergency funds, for example, through Arts Council England, but we understand that the best way to support our amazing freelancers up and down the country is to give them more work that they can do and get things back open as soon as possible.”

Ruth Jones (Newport West) (Lab):

“…Newport West is home to a vibrant and growing cultural scene. I have been contacted by many constituents, such as Sam Dabb who manages the music venue Le Pub, and actors Daniel Williams and Chris Rankin who, like others, have shared their experiences of being freelancers in today’s harsh economic climate. Although today’s announcement is welcome for some, it has come too late for others, such as the 23 who are losing their jobs at Newsquest—…

What specific support will the Government give to those who have fallen through the gaps of the financial safety net?”

Caroline Dinenage:

As I have said, the best thing we can do to support those freelancers who have not been scooped up by the self-employment income support scheme—very many thousands have been—is to get the organisations back up and running so that these individuals can start earning money again.

Sir Roger Gale (North Thanet) (Con) [V]:

“The £1.5 billion is a massive sum of money and incredibly welcome. However, further to the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Damian Collins), it is the men and women who work in the theatres, not the theatres themselves, who really need the support. My hon. Friend the Minister referred to enhanced opportunities for freelancers. Could she put a little flesh on that bone and tell us how that is likely to work?”

Caroline Dinenage:

“My right hon. Friend is one of our Equity card-carrying Members of Parliament, so I always listen carefully when he talks about this issue. There are a number of ways we can help. First, getting everything back up to speed will of course support our freelancers and the workforce up and down the sector. Arts Council England has reinstated the fund that people can bid into for projects, so a number of other schemes—worth £59 million—are available to offer support.”

Hannah Bardell (Livingston) (SNP) [V]:

“Last week the live music industry hosted a webinar with musician and artist Beverley Knight as part of the “Let the Music Play” campaign. It was clear from her and others that there is deep distress in the live music industry. They talked about the impact on associated jobs that are tied up with the industry but have fallen through the cracks of this Government’s furlough scheme. Can the Minister tell us how those freelance musicians, technicians, producers and associated professionals will get support, as they appear to have been completely forgotten by her Government?

Damian Green (Ashford) (Con)

“Like others, I welcome this announcement and hope that it will benefit Revelation St Mary’s in Ashford, one of those churches that is also a cultural centre, which the Minister has already referred to. Can she give us a little more detail about the support for freelancers? In particular, when does she think some of the money will actually get into their pockets and bank accounts? I know from my constituency that some of them are already looking for jobs outside the sector because they are so worried about their future inside it.”

Mary Kelly Foy (City of Durham) (Lab)
“Despite this announcement, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the arts industry, most notably among freelancers. Even when productions can resume during the pandemic, this will not go away. Will the Minister tell me whether the Government will create a plan that ensures that companies and their artists are protected financially if their show is cancelled due to a localised lockdown or if a member of the company tests positive for covid-19?”

Margaret Greenwood (Wirral West) (Lab) [V]:”

“One of my constituents owns a company that supplies video, lighting, sound systems and technicians to performance venues on a rental basis, but his business will not benefit from the Government’s announcement. He is really worried that he and many other providers of services to performance venues will have to make many staff redundant within the month. So what will the Minister do as a matter of urgency to support those incredibly important technical staff working in this industry?”

Feryal Clark (Enfield North) (Lab)
“All Safe and Sound and Handheld Audio Ltd are just two of the companies in my constituency working in the arts and creative sector that have lost 98% of their incomes since the March lockdown and will fall off the cliff when the furlough has ended. Will the Minister tell me what support is available from this rescue package for the ecosystem of such companies and businesses that support our creative and arts sector?”

Caroline Dinenage

“There is an unprecedented package of business support. The furloughing scheme, the business loan scheme and the bounce back loan scheme have poured millions and millions of pounds into supporting businesses up and down the country.”

Giles Watling (Clacton) (Con):

“The Princes Theatre, the West Cliff Theatre and the Frinton Summer Theatre, which I used to run, are all in dire need. The Frinton Summer Theatre is not having a season this year. Could my hon. Friend say a bit more about how these funds will be distributed, particularly to the regions? Theatres are closing. Rome is burning. This funding is needed and it is needed urgently.”

Owen Thompson (Midlothian) (SNP)

“Live music is of huge cultural importance to Midlothian, and the venues at grassroots level are a massive factor in that, but without the performers, these venues can do nothing. What support can the Minister provide to assure our performers, especially freelance performers, that their livelihoods can continue?”

Caroline Dinenage:

“As I have already said, a very large number of performers have been protected by the self-employed income support scheme. We know that it is not everybody. We have been working really hard to try to ascertain who is falling through the gaps and what more can be done to support them. But there have been a number of packages in place, such as the Arts Council England £20 million fund that has gone to individuals.”

Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn) (Lab) [V]:

“My constituency is famous for its theatres and culture and I think I am the only MP whose predecessor won two Oscars, but many of my constituents employed in these sectors are extremely worried, having fallen through the cracks of the Government’s support schemes and now facing the prospect of their workplaces closing. The news of new funding will be welcomed by venues such as the Kiln Theatre in Kilburn and Hampstead Theatre, but how will the Minister ensure that smaller institutions can access it if they are forced to apply for at least £1 million?”

Karin Smyth (Bristol South) (Lab):

I felt that the Minister was unusually disrespectful to my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff Central (Jo Stevens), who asked a very important question about freelancers and how the package is not helping, which has been echoed across the House. There is clearly a lot of support for creative freelancers, who are not supported by the job retention scheme and cannot currently access the other schemes. In Bristol South, they are critical to supporting Bristol’s wider creative and music offer. Will the Minister please consider going back to the Treasury to find a way to help that group of people?”

Caroline Dineage:

“I am well aware that a number of people up and down the country have fallen through the gaps and are not being protected in the way we envisaged when we started the self-employed income support scheme. The hon. Lady may be interested to know that, alongside the Government’s significant investment, Netflix, working with UK Theatre, the Society of London Theatre and Sam Mendes, has donated £500,000 to set up a theatre artists fund, which is supporting individuals in the theatre industry who are in dire straits at the moment.”

Barbara Keeley (Worsley and Eccles South) (Lab) [V]
“I want to raise the survival of orchestras. The support package for organisations is welcome, but as we keep hearing it will not help thousands of freelancers—the musicians who are not eligible for Government support schemes….”

APPG Logo

7 July - CALL FOR EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF £1.57bn

AAPG for Creative Diversity: Letter

www.twitter.com/diversityappg/status/1280471673192448001?s=21

“A letter from our co-chairs @BullDeborah and @ChiOnwurah (and co-signatories @FloellaBenjamin@jbonham_carter@TracyBrabin and @HelenGrantMP) calling for equitable distribution of the £1.57bn support package for the arts.”

Twitter logo

7 July - MP: WHAT SUPPORT WILL BE GIVEN TO FREELANCERS?

Bambos Charalambous MP gets no answer from Sunak

www.mobile.twitter.com/bambos_mp/status/1280462324776738816

“Mr Sunak still can’t tell me what support will be given to freelance creative workers who have had no support for over 100 days now.”

The Stage logo

6 July - £1.57bn MUST HELP FREELANCERS

£1.57bn must help freelancers and independent sector – theatre figures

www.thestage.co.uk/news/coronavirus-157bn-must-help-freelancers-and-independent-sector–theatre-figures

“Theatre figures and organisations are urging the government to ensure its support package reaches all areas of the industry, including freelancers and the independent sector…”

The Stage logo

6 July - PANTO BOSS GIVES DOWDEN DEADLINE

Panto boss gives Dowden deadline to save crucial festive season

www.thestage.co.uk/news/coronavirus-panto-boss-gives-dowden-deadline-to-save-crucial-festive-season

“Britain’s most prolific pantomime producer has warned of the grave impacts for theatres if the vital Christmas season is lost, appealing to government to provide clarity and guidance by this time next month…”

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6 July - UK ARTS RESCUE PACKAGE A HUGE RELIEF

The UK arts rescue package is a huge relief – but the devil will be in the detail

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/06/arts-recovery-package-sector

“The arts aren’t just about glossy shows in big cities – all communities should benefit from this funding…”

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6 July - ARTS COUNCIL REACTION TO RESCUE PACKAGE

The government’s arts, culture and heritage rescue package

www.artscouncil.org.uk/blog/governments-arts-culture-and-heritage-rescue-package

“Our CEO Darren Henley blogs about the new £1.57 billion government relief package for arts, culture and heritage in the UK:”

“This is a massive vote of confidence: in our sector’s quality, its reach and its roots in communities up and down the country. And it’s an acknowledgement of the importance of creativity and culture to the future wellbeing of the country.  It’s also an investment that will see a healthy return over time as theatres, museums, galleries, arts centres, music venues and artists themselves eventually get back to what they do best, creating.”

The Stage logo

6 July - PACKAGE BRINGS RELIEF BUT NOT GRATITUDE

The government’s 11th-hour rescue package brings relief, but not gratitude

www.thestage.co.uk/opinion/the-governments-11th-hour-rescue-package-brings-relief-but-not-gratitude

“Finally. Last night the government announced a £1.57 billion rescue package for arts and culture, and the feelings of relief were palpable…”

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6 July - THE GUARDIAN VIEW ON £1.57bn FOR THE ARTS

The Guardian view on £1.5bn for the arts: the shows will go on

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/06/the-guardian-view-on-15bn-for-the-arts-the-shows-will-go-on

“Culture needed a lifeline, and has got one. Now the sector must avoid treading water…”

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6 July - EMERGENCY INVESTMENT IS HUGELY WELCOME, BUT….

Emergency investment is hugely welcome, but clarity on reopening is crucial

www.thestage.co.uk/opinion/the-governments-11th-hour-rescue-package-brings-relief-but-not-gratitude

“The culture secretary has responded to the arts sector’s concerns with a much-needed cash injection – now we must make sure this money is spent wisely and reaches those who really need it…”

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6 July - £1.57bn EMERGENCY ARTS FUND TOO LATE FOR SOME

Government’s £1.57bn UK emergency arts fund ‘too late for some’

www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/jul/06/governments-157bn-uk-emergency-arts-fund-too-late-for-many

“Insiders warn that venues such as theatres could still go bust with hundreds of jobs lost…”

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6 July - END TO SOCIAL DISTANCING….STILL SOME WAY OFF

Dowden – ‘end to social distancing for theatres still some way off’

www.thestage.co.uk/news/coronavirus-dowden–end-to-social-distancing-for-theatres-still-some-way-off

“Oliver Dowden has cast doubt on hopes that theatres may reopen for Christmas pantomimes this year, warning that staging performances without social distancing is still “some way off”…”

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6 July - ARTS FIGURES PICK THE THEATRES THAT INSPIRED THEM

‘It’s my second home’: UK arts figures pick the theatres that inspired them

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/jul/06/favourite-uk-theatres-mac-birmingham-leicester-playhouse-nottingham-playhouse-citizens-glasgow-sadlers-wells-lyric-belfast

“Arts venues have been hit hard by the pandemic and are still unable to stage live performances. In a new series, we celebrate their essential role…”

 

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6 July - LONDON IS A GHOST TOWN WITHOUT THEATRES

Leading restaurants warn London is a ‘ghost town’ without theatres

www.thestage.co.uk/news/coronavirus-leading-restaurants-warn-london-is-a-ghost-town-without-theatres

“Restaurant owners have warned that central London is a “ghost town” while theatres remain shut, and that many business are at risk of closure due to the lack of footfall…”

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6 July - THEATRE LEADERS WELCOME VITAL £1.57bn PACKAGE

Theatre leaders welcome ‘vital’ £1.57bn emergency package

www.thestage.co.uk/news/coronavirus–theatre-leaders-welcome-vital-157bn-emergency-package-

“Nicholas Hytner has hailed the government’s £1.57 billion investment package in culture as “a much better plan than anyone expected”, as the sector continues to welcome the news…”

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6 July - THEATRE WAKES TO NEWS OF £1.57 BILLION PACKAGE

‘A seismic step forward’ – theatre wakes to news of £1.57bn package

www.thestage.co.uk/news/coronavirus-a-seismic-step-forward–theatre-wakes-to-news-of-157bn-package

“Nicholas Hytner has hailed the government’s £1.57 billion investment package in culture as “a much better plan than anyone expected”, as the sector continues to welcome the news…”

UK Gov logo

5 July - GOVERNMENT INVESTS £1.57 BILLION IN THE ARTS

Government announces £1.57 billion investment package in the Arts​

Freelancers Make Theatre Work welcome this announcement of a £1.57 billion investment package from the Government.   It is great news for the sector as a whole, and a huge relief for all of us freelancers who make up 72% of the workforce.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to negotiate this unprecedented package.

Like the rest of the industry, we await details of how this funding will find its way to those people who have yet to receive any form of emergency support, and how this will support freelancers in the long term to allow us and the industry to come back better and stronger.

The following is the DCMS and Treasury’s Press Release in full:

£1.57 billion investment to protect Britain’s world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions

  • Cultural and heritage organisations to be protected with £1.57 billion support package

  • Future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will be protected with emergency grants and loans

  • Funding will also be provided to restart construction work at cultural and heritage sites paused as a result of the pandemic

Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a world-leading £1.57 billion rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus, the government announced today.

Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans.

The money, which represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic. It will help them stay afloat while their doors are closed. Funding to restart paused projects will also help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors.

Many of Britain’s cultural and heritage institutions have already received unprecedented financial assistance to see them through the pandemic including loans, business rate holidays and participation in the coronavirus job retention scheme. More than 350,000 people in the recreation and leisure sector have been furloughed since the pandemic began.

This new package will be available across the country and ensure the future of these multi billion-pound industries are secured.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.

This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down.”

Oliver Dowden Culture Secretary said:

“Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation. They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast growing creative industries.

I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.”

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer said:

“Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they’re the lifeblood of British culture. That’s why we’re giving them the vital cash they need to safeguard their survival, helping to protect jobs and ensuring that they can continue to provide the sights and sounds that Britain is famous for.”

The package announced today includes funding for national cultural institutions in England and investment in cultural and heritage sites to restart construction work paused as a result of the pandemic. This will be a big step forward to help rebuild our cultural infrastructure.

This unprecedented package includes:

  • £1.15 billion support pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance  and £880 million grants.

  • £100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.

  • £120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new funding will also mean an extra £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).

Decisions on awards will be made working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

Repayable finance will be issued on generous terms tailored for cultural institutions to ensure they are affordable. Further details will be set out when the scheme opens for applications in the coming weeks.

The government is finalising guidance for a phased return of the performing arts sectors that will be published shortly.

The government is working with the sectors to get it back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so and is being guided by medical experts.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

“We greatly welcome this very significant investment by the government in the future of arts and culture in this country and look forward to working with them on next steps. I know our amazing artists and creative organisations will repay the faith that the government has shown by demonstrating the range of their creativity, by serving their communities and by helping the nation recover as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Alex Beard Chief Executive, ROH said:

“The Royal Opera House warmly welcomes the newly announced package of Government support for the arts sector. This is a vital next step on the road to recovery for the industry and will help to support and sustain the UK’s vibrant arts ecology through this crisis. There is much to achieve over the coming months and this package of support will be a catalyst for unlocking the extraordinary creativity embedded in the UK’s world-renowned creative industries.

Over the months ahead we will need to draw all on our collective ingenuity and determination to adapt to the realities of re-opening our theatres. We now look forward to the future and celebrating the return of our artforms, our community of staff and artists and importantly, welcoming our audiences back to the Royal Opera House.”

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5 July - NETFLIX GIVES £500k FOR THEATRE ARTISTS FUND

Theatre Artists Fund established with £500,000 from Netflix

Sam Mendes, The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre have set up this new fund to assist individuals in urgent need of emergency financial support.

Established with a £500k donation from Netflix, to provide small grants for theatre practitioners who find themselves with nowhere else to turn. It is designed to specifically support those who have been ineligible for Government aid and have not been able to work since theatres closed on 16th March due to Covid-19.   To continue the fund, the ambition is for industry figures, corporations, charitable trusts and individual theatre goers alike to support the fund in its growth, as more help will be desperately needed by those out of work over coming months.

Spearheaded by director Sam Mendes the fund will provide short-term relief to hundreds of theatre workers and freelancers across the UK, and particularly those from underrepresented groups disproportionately affected by the crisis.

The grants will be £1000 each, and the Full Criteria is available to view on the website

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5 July - THEATRES ‘WILL NOT REOPEN UNTIL NEXT YEAR’

Theatres ‘will not reopen until next year’

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/coronavirus-theatres-will-not-reopen-until-next-year-lhb3flc28

“Theatres will not reopen until next year and thousands of job losses in the sector are looming, a government source has revealed…”

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5 July - SOUTHAMPTON ‘FIGHTS FOR ITS SOUL’

Southampton ‘fights for its soul’ as Covid-19 closes theatres

www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/05/southampton-fights-for-its-soul-as-covid-19-closes-theatres

“The arts were at the heart of the maritime city’s bid for regeneration. Will its closed venues get any help this week, along with others across the UK?”

 

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