June 2021

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30 June - £1.3 million awarded to support safe return of Edinburgh festivals

Producers and venues in Edinburgh have been awarded £1.3 million to support the return of live events at the city’s festivals.

The Scottish government has contributed £1 million, with City of Edinburgh Council providing a further £300,000 to help create outdoor performance spaces and offset additional costs faced by producers due to the pandemic

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30 June - Michael Sheen: Why the creative industries need to do more to offer others a writing chance

Unpaid internships and an increasingly London-centric industry are preventing people from lower-income backgrounds from entering the arts. I want to change that. 

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30 June - Public still reluctant to return to live events – Audience Agency research

Less than a third of the public would be happy to attend a cultural event in person as the sector reopens post-pandemic, according to new data.

Research from the Audience Agency has indicated that members of the public are still reluctant to return to live events, with an increase of only 2% in those who would be happy to attend (29%) since February.

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29 June - Australia’s theatrical reopening was the envy of the world – now it’s a cautionary tale

As Sydney is now finding, stop-start lockdowns cause untold misery for anyone trying to put on a show. Let’s hope the UK watches and learns

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29 June - UK government set for leading role in insuring live entertainment

The British government is expected to announce an insurance scheme in the coming weeks for live events, including festivals, theatre and sports, to allow them to go ahead despite the pandemic, insurance industry sources said.

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29 June - Stars call for 'gadget levy' to fund UK Creative Industies

“The Crown” stars Olivia Colman and Lesley Manville are among a host of British creative industries personalities calling for a levy on gadgets, the proceeds of which would to towards supporting the U.K. creative sector.

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29 June - Lockdown is raising a generation without any direct access to culture – and that's frightening

Experiencing culture isn’t just about learning, it ushers teens into adulthood and backgrounds formative experiences from love to friendship

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28 June - Full reopening of theatres still set for July 19, health secretary confirms

Theatres are still set to be able to open without social distancing on July 19, health secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed.

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28 June - Womad 2021 cancelled amid Covid-19 uncertainty

The Womad music festival has been cancelled “to guarantee its survival”, co-founder Peter Gabriel has announced.

Earlier this month, the former Genesis singer warned that the three-day event might not go ahead without government-backed insurance or test event status.

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28 June - How can freelancers in precarious work conditions fight for better terms?

Who can legitimately describe themselves as freelance? Recent events have highlighted complex relationships in the arts world between freelancer, employee and worker.

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28 June - Sir Elton John 'livid' as Brexit hits musicians

Sir Elton John has described the government as “philistines”, and accused them of failing to understand the implications of Brexit on music.

Since leaving the EU, musicians are no longer guaranteed visa-free travel in the bloc, and may face huge fees when they go on tour.

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28 June - I love theatre, but not its damaging long-hours culture – it’s no way to live

A couple of things caught my eye over the past few weeks. One was a global study that claims working 55 hours a week or more is associated with a significantly higher risk of dying from heart disease and stroke.

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26 June - Don’t be fooled – British theatre is in more danger than ever

The findings from the Events Research Programme suggest more delays are afoot, which would bring theatreland down like a house of cards

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26 June - ‘I burst into tears. Then went back to my desk’: when dream jobs become nightmares

Creative industries are notorious for toxic workplaces run by ‘talented genius’ bosses. Will anything change when we return to the office?

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25 June - West End is on the brink of collapse, theatre owner warns Boris Johnson

Prime minister should ‘walk down the Strand and feel theatreland’s pain’ says Ambassador Theatre Group co-founder Sir Howard Panter

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25 June - Lack of support for theatre is to discourage dissent, says top playwright

Laura Wade, writer of Posh and Home, I’m Darling, criticises government’s attitude to industry as unions fight cuts to performing arts degrees

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25 June - COVID-19: 'No substantial outbreaks' after test events for sport, music and clubbing, report finds

The Brit Awards, which featured an audience of around 3,500, recorded zero cases of coronavirus.

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25 June - Government publishes pilot events data following legal challenge from producers

The controversial data from the Events Research Programme, subject of legal action earlier this week initiated by leading stage and music producers, has been published.

The 42-page document has a series of key scientific observations taken during the series of test events, including football matches, Snooker championships and more.

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25 June - Self-isolation rules are ‘strangling’ theatre’s return, producers warn

Theatre producers have condemned the government’s “nonsensical” self-isolation guidance, warning that it poses at least as big a threat to the industry’s return as delays to the roadmap.

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24 June - Andrew Lloyd Webber: 'The government doesn't have a clue what a successful show can do'

Andrew Lloyd Webber has gone on LBC to speak to Nick Ferrari, just as his new musical Cinderella begins previews at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in the West End.

Lloyd Webber was blunt about the state of the nationwide arts community: “You hear all over the country that regional theatres and performers are on their knees…The country really needs its theatre – not just for its financial reasons. Without live entertainment our lives are immensely poorer.”

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24 June - Government confirms £220m for Culture Recovery Fund’s third round

The final round of the Culture Recovery Fund will comprise £220 million in grants intended to help organisations reopen and return to full capacity, the government has confirmed.

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24 June - No 10 says mass event pilot findings for England will be published ‘shortly’

Downing Street has said the government will publish the evidence gathered from piloting mass events such as concerts and festivals “shortly”, as music industry figures including Andrew Lloyd Webber take legal action in an effort to force its disclosure.

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24 June - Theatre heavyweights launch legal action against government over pilot findings

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh and Sonia Friedman are among a number of high-profile theatre figures launching legal action against the government to force the publication of data relating to its events pilot programme.

They claim the industry is at present being unfairly strangled by restrictions, for which the government is refusing to outline the scientific basis.

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23 June - Minimal Covid restrictions will lead to substantial losses for events industry, taskforce finds

The events industry will sustain substantial losses if even marginal Covid-19 restrictions are kept in place after the final stage of the roadmap is enacted, a government taskforce has warned.

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23 June - Covid passports ‘would boost mass event attendance by 20%’

Coronavirus passports could increase attendance of mass events by one fifth, a government taskforce has concluded.

A report by the government’s events research programme, circulated to ministers last month, said the use of certificates that display people’s vaccination status and recent test results would raise demand for events, The Times understands.

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23 June - Kids Week is back this August with over 30 London shows participating

We’re thrilled to announce that Kids Week is #BackOnStage this August with over 30 London shows participating! Tickets will go on sale at 10am on Wednesday 30 June, available from OfficialLondonTheatre.com

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23 June - UK stars call on government to act over post-Brexit touring

Stars including Radiohead, Biffy Clyro and Ghostpoet are urging the government to make touring Europe easier, to prevent “the collapse of the industry”.

Post-Brexit restrictions mean UK artists will face red tape and fees for visas to play in some EU countries.

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23 June - Scottish theatres to be free from social distancing by August 9

Theatres in Scotland should be able to operate without social distancing from August 9, three days after the official start of the Edinburgh Fringe.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said the restrictions will be lifted if the Scottish government’s aims to reduce Covid are achieved and the whole country moves out of the level system on that date.

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23 June - Success of government’s ‘culture recovery fund’ in doubt as festivals teeter on brink of collapse

New report questions lack of support for festivals and freelance workers within the culture sector

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23 June - Festivals face devastating consequences without insurance scheme, MPs warn

Festivals and freelancers in the cultural sector face “devastating consequences” unless the government offers more support, MPs have warned.

The Public Accounts Committee praised a government scheme to bail out cultural institutions, but said festivals faced a “survival threat” unless ministers set up a cancellation insurance scheme.

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23 June - Unions collectively oppose ‘devastating’ cuts to higher education arts funding

Entertainment unions including Equity and BECTU have joined forces with the University and Colleges Union and attacked government proposals to slash funding for higher education arts subjects.

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22 June - Ministers admit test events caused no Covid outbreaks as MPs accuse Government of sitting on results

Ministers have admitted that results from a series of test events did not cause any Covid-19 outbreaks, sparking further accusations that the findings are being deliberately suppressed by the Government.

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22 June - Tory central London MP calls for fresh package to support the West End

A Conservative central London Tory MP is today calling for a fresh package of economic support to help the capital’s post-Covid economic recovery, with specific measures for the West End.

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22 June - Ian King Business Podcast: Lockdown hit to theatres

How the “Freedom Day” delay is hitting the theatre industry: Ian hears from the boss of Sadler’s Wells about the need to get back to full capacity.

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22 June - Glyndebourne sets up freelancer fund to create 'more equitable' future

Glyndebourne has unveiled plans to create a freelance support fund, with a major financial commitment intended to help correct longstanding inequity between arts organisations and the workforce.

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22 June - Government confirms new pilot events – with no theatre performances currently involved

The government has rolled out further “Events Research Programme” events – though none currently involve live theatre.

Today, the Goodwood Festival of Speed was confirmed as going ahead on 8 July with all ticket holders able to attend, as long as they have proof of a negative lateral flow test or have had both doses of vaccine 14 days prior to attendance.

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21 June - Covid-19 unlocking: Theatres forced to push back shows to avoid losing money after uncertainty over reopening

Theatres already fighting for survival have been left dreaming of what could have been after the date for the lifting of Covid restrictions was delayed by four weeks.

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21 June - ‘This has dragged on too long, we are desperate’ – Michael Flatley calls for reopening of entertainment industry

The industries most affected by the UK’s delayed reopening will need to find almost £50m to cover wages once the government’s furlough scheme is cut back on 1 July, according to analysis by the Labour party.

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21 June - Covid-hit industries will need extra £50m after furlough ends, says Labour

The industries most affected by the UK’s delayed reopening will need to find almost £50m to cover wages once the government’s furlough scheme is cut back on 1 July, according to analysis by the Labour party.

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21 June - Sarah Crompton: Five thoughts as theatres begin to reopen

It’s an anxious time for British theatre, and as I watch the Euro 2020, tennis from Queen’s, Ascot racing and the cricket on TV, it’s hard not to feel that once again our cultural life has been neglected while sporting fixtures surge ever onwards. But assuming that theatre does indeed manage to get back to full performing life in July, there are conclusions to be drawn from all that the sector has been through in the past 18 months.

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21 June - Civic life is under assault – theatres can play a vital role in restoring it

Drama instigates debate and changes lives. With venues open again, this is a chance to build a truly civic theatre culture

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21 June - Rain or shine, the great outdoors offers a way forward for theatre

Oliver Dowden made a slip-up when, in a hastily deleted tweet, he gave credit to the government for having supported the lovely Minack Theatre in Cornwall via the Culture Recovery Fund. The prudence of the gorgeous outdoor clifftop theatre meant it was ineligible for any funding.

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21 June - Why art and culture is good for the soul, the West End and the UK

There’s never been a better time to let spellbinding art and culture flood back onto the capital’s streets and into everyone’s lives, writes Ros Morgan

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20 June - Summer festivals are crying out for help – but the Tories don’t want to hear it

The pandemic has revealed the Johnson government’s attitude to the arts: a mixture of indifference and hostility

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20 June - Is the future of live theatre on streaming services?

Far from being a lockdown fad, streamed plays could revolutionise the stage

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20 June - Playwright Jasmine Lee-Jones: ‘The theatre industry is full of isms and schisms and nepotism’

The creator of the hit play Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner on the power of comedy and why Instagram is almost like cosplay

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18 June - Andrew Lloyd Webber hits out at ‘profit-driven’ private equity in theatre

Andrew Lloyd Webber has taken aim at private-equity financing in theatre, claiming companies such as Ambassador Theatre Group are too focused on profit and that he is concerned about the future of the UK’s commercial venues as a result.

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18 June - Pushing for full theatre reopening ignores vulnerable – disability campaigner’

Theatre leaders pushing for the full reopening of venues without evidence of their safety for vulnerable people are behaving “almost criminally”, a leading disability campaigner has claimed.

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18 June - Matthew Xia: ‘True change must include access to power as well as opportunity’

For decades, the theatre sector has responded to accusations of institutional racism with half-hearted measures and token gestures, says Actors Touring Company’s Matthew Xia – action, not promises, is needed at all levels to ensure our industry reflects the whole of British society

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17 June - Culture Recovery Fund delay leaves theatres 'worse off' than when they applied

Theatres and producers have revealed they have still not received promised Culture Recovery Fund grants, leaving them eating into precious reserves and in a worse financial position than had they not applied for funding.

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17 June - Joyless scientists and ministers are a threat to the future of British music

Restrictions are loosening on glitzy sporting events, but fastening tighter round the neck of grassroots music venues. Where’s the logic?

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16 June - ‘West End theatres won’t survive unless they get firm re-opening date’

West End supremo Sonia Friedman has warned the theatre industry needs a firm re-opening date or it may not survive.

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16 June - Athena Stevens and Paule Constable: Small acts and moments of grace are key to theatre freelancers’ well-being

For the opening keynote speech of The Stage’s Future of Theatre conference, theatremaker Athena Stevens and lighting designer Paule Constable address the difficulties faced by freelancers during the pandemic and outline the positive steps workers can take to change the industry for the better

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16 June - Towards a more civic theatre

It’s easy to blame the challenges now facing theatre on the longest shutdown of stages since the mid-17th century. But these problems began well before the pandemic, argues Dan Hutton

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16 June - Show us the data: if theatres aren't safe, we need to know

…our industry is facing “imminent collapse”, according to Sonia Friedman, thanks to the government’s decision to delay full reopening until at least July 19. The mood in commercial theatre feels nearly as grim as in December when theatres were forced to close a few performances after reopening. Again, we are all plunged into uncertainty.

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15 June - What was the point of the Government’s pilot events?

Whitehall-approved gatherings long ago proved that live music, clubs and theatre can reopen safely. Then why haven’t they?

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15 June - Timothy Spall, Shaan Sahota, Universal Basic Income for artists

Actor Timothy Spall on his new painting exhibition; Shaan Sahota on being a playwright and a doctor; and a proposal for Universal Basic Income for artists in Ireland.

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15 June - Edinburgh Festival Fringe chief hits out at delays over easing of restrictions

Organisers of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe have hit out after the Scottish Government delayed a decision on lifting controversial curbs on live events.

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15 June - When British culture is in crisis, Oliver Dowden’s gaffes aren’t so funny

The Culture Secretary is the ministerial equivalent of The Play That Goes Wrong. In our Covid-induced plight, it’s less comic than tragic

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15 June - Nica Burns: I am confident we can reopen from July 19

Nimax chief executive Nica Burns has hailed a “shift in government policy” that she claims lends more certainty to a full reopening in July.

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15 June - Covid: Delay to full reopening a hammer blow, says live event sector

Live music, theatre and other events have been dealt a “hammer blow” by a four-week delay to the final stage of easing lockdown restrictions in England, industry figures have said.

The move means the capacity of venues will remain limited by the requirements around social distancing.

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14 June - Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella could go on despite lockdown extension, PM hints

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest production could be exempt from the delay in lockdown easing, Boris Johnson hinted in his Downing Street briefing announcing the four-week postponement of the relaxation of all rules.

Last week, Lord Lloyd-Webber said he was determined to open his theatres on 21 June regardless of whether rules are relaxed, and was prepared to be arrested if authorities try to intervene.

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14 June - Statement on the latest government guidance

Following today’s Government announcement of a delay to Roadmap Stage 4, SOLT and UK Theatre Chief Executive Julian Bird has released the following statement:

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14 June - Prime Minister reveals plans for pilot events to test theatrical performances with fewer restrictions

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed further pilot events to test live theatrical performances with increased capacities.

The news comes as “step four” in the government roadmap to reopening is pushed back by four weeks, and is now set for 19 July after its original 21 June date.

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14 June - What the lockdown roadmap delay means for theatres, galleries and cinemas

Step Four on the roadmap out of lockdown has been postponed until July 19. How does that affect the arts industry?

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14 June - ‘Most difficult setback yet’ – theatres face financial hit as roadmap delayed

Theatre figures have warned of the imminent “financial ruin” faced by individuals and organisations, as prime minister Boris Johnson confirms a four-week delay to ending all Covid restrictions.

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14 June - Nightmare in the West End, the sequel: ‘If restrictions remain into the autumn, it all collapses’

The government’s four-week delay to Step Four is ‘devastating and disappointing’, say leading producers and theatre-owners

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14 June - Boris Johnson: We will delay the next step in reopening until 19 July

As confirmed earlier today, Johnson has stated that there will be a delay to the government’s step four in the roadmap to reopening.

The fourth and final step in the current roadmap would have eased distancing restrictions and allowed audiences to sit in auditoria at capacity.

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14 June - Government-backed insurance scheme close to being secured – reports

A government-backed insurance scheme for theatre is on the brink of being agreed, it has been reported.

Following theatre closures in March 2020, the theatre industry has been lobbying hard for an insurance scheme that would protect venues from future closures and allow productions to reopen confidently when restrictions are eased.

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14 June - London’s West End is sleepwalking into oblivion – the Government must wake up

Our commercial theatres need government-backed insurance – many livelihoods are under existential threat if Step Four is delayed

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14 June - Open air theatre should be treated differently to indoor – Minack boss

The Cornish theatre will have to continue to maintain social distancing.

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14 June - Was NT's Hex announcement another example of theatre's nepotism problem?

Given how hard the past 15 months have been on the theatre industry, the National Theatre’s announcement of its new season was inevitably going to be subject to heightened expectations – treated not just as a season, but as a statement.

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13 June - The theatre is watching as its scenes are stolen

Tighter rules north of the border mean skills are heading south in search of an audience

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13 June - G7 partners’ trip to theatre backfires after minister’s gaffe

A visit to a beautiful open-air clifftop theatre in Cornwall by partners of the G7 leaders ended in embarrassment for the UK government after the culture secretary wrongly claimed it had received emergency funding during the Covid crisis.

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12 June - Curtain poised to rise on state rescue for theatres

Theatre grandees have an agreement in principle for a taxpayer-backed insurance scheme

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