30 November - We need a government that works with theatre, not against it
Last Thursday’s news of tiers – which are likely to remain in place through the winter – brought little consolation to those who have been working non-stop to bring audiences safely back into theatres. London can stage shows – with severe limitations – but many are not so lucky.
29 November - Oh yes they are: drive-in pantomimes salvage Christmas tradition
Hardy theatre companies offer fun in the cold, even as restrictions tighten for manyy.
27 November - No Fringe, no future: why the next Phoebe Waller-Bridge may be quitting British theatre
With no Edinburgh Fringe and no prospects, young theatre-makers are beginning to walk away. Meet lockdown’s talented ‘lost generation’
27 November - Audiences confident to attend venues but sceptical of rapid testing – survey
Returning arts audiences are reporting feeling confident and safe with the measures in place at venues, a new study has claimed.
A survey of nearly 5,000 arts audiences found that 25% had already returned to in-person cultural events since organisations began to reopen earlier in the year, with younger people more likely to have resumed attendance.
26 November - Evening Standard and TikTok join forces for £120k fund to support theatre talent of the future
The Evening Standard has joined forces with TikTok to launch a £120,000 fund to support the next generation of theatre stars, who are struggling under the impact of Covid-19.
High-profile figures including award-winning actress Helen McCrory, theatre supremo Andrew Lloyd Webber and Young Vic boss Kwame Kwei-Armah have joined the panel to help decide who receives the 12 grants, each of £10,000.
26 November - Tier 3: Theatres respond to continued closure
Cities including Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester have been told they will move into Tier 3 Covid-19 regulations next week, with theatres in those areas forced to remain shut while under such restrictions.
The tiers are due to be reviewed on December 16, with some venues in the highest category hoping they will be allowed to drop down into lighter restrictions and reopen in two weeks’ time.
26 November - Lockdown is killing small arts venues – I see it on my street
The coronavirus lockdown, and constantly changing guidlines, have put small venues like the Bridge House Theatre in an impossible position
26 November - Qdos boss vows to try to save pantos in Tier 3 despite ‘appalling’ government guidance
Pantomime producer Michael Harrison has vowed to try and save the five productions he has lined up that have fallen into Tier 3, as he criticised the government for its lack of leadership.
The producer had 10 pantomimes lined up through his company Qdos across the country, including Pantoland at the Palladium.
26 November - England tiers announced: London to reopen theatres, but Manchester and Sheffield face tougher restrictions
Tiers have been announced for England, which dictate which theatres can reopen in December.
Health secretary Matt Hancock announced that London will be in Tier 2, which means productions scheduled for December – including musical Six and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – will be able to continue with plans to open.
26 November - Relief and devastation: Theatres respond to the new tier rule announcement
Venues and thought leaders across England have responded to the new tier rules revealed today.
You can find out more about which tiers different parts of the country have been placed into here.
Under the new rules, the West End will be permitted to reopen with social distancing measures and capacity caps, but other parts of England will be forced to remain closed from 2 December until at least 17 December.
26 November - The West End may be at risk, but history suggests it will recover
From old master paintings recreated by models to real steam trains on stage, academic and author Rohan McWilliam says London’s West End invented the concept of a night out, and, despite the pandemic, its eventful past suggests it will bounce back
25 November - What the tier system means for your Christmas trip to the theatre
The post-lockdown tiers will pile on more uncertainty and economic pain – and the government is frustratingly short on details
24 November - Ever-changing Covid restrictions leave theatres and freelancers in dire straits
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus is cursed to forever push a huge boulder up a hill in Hades. Every time he gets close to the top, straining every sinew in his body to do so, the sheer weight of the boulder sends it rolling back down the hill and Sisyphus has to start again. Ad infinitum.
24 November - New tier rules explained – how they might affect English theatres
Given all the questions surrounding the new lockdown rules, we thought we’d provide a succinct guide to what’s going on, what needs to be confirmed and how best to go forwards if you’re a ticket holder.
23 November - Theatres warn tougher restrictions will have 'major financial impact' on sector
Theatres have criticised new restrictions planned for December, claiming they are “more onerous” than previous ones and will have major financial ramifications for the sector.
23 November - Theatres within Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas to reopen and those within Tier 3 to remain closed
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson today announced the new restrictions under the new three-tier system that will be imposed as of 2nd December.
Theatres within Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas can reopen with social distancing and limited audiences, while those within Tier 3 will remain closed.
23 November - Theatres in Tier 3 areas forced to close under 'tougher' Covid-19 regulations
Indoor entertainment venues including theatres will have to close in areas placed in Tier 3 of the government’s localised system of Covid-19 restrictions.
23 November - Theatres in England to reopen in tier one and two areas in December – tier three venues to remain closed
Theatres in select parts of England will be able to reopen from 2 December in line with new tier guidance set out by the UK government.
Largely described as a “tougher” version of the tier system seen earlier this autumn, any venue placed in “tier three” (the very high alert band) will not be able to stage shows in front of live audiences (though live-streamed productions will be permitted, as has been the case throughout November).
23 November - More than just face masks: Covid-safe working means putting people first
As one of the creators of the Costume in Theatre Association’s Covid-safe guidelines, I felt well prepared to implement safe protocols when I worked in-between the lockdowns. But it was still a steep learning curve to put the principles into practice.
23 November - Freelancers have been overlooked and underpaid for too long
Food banks in Manchester have called upon the city’s huge football clubs – Manchester City and Manchester United – to pay their staff a real living wage, saying many are struggling to put food on the table. These are Premier League teams worth millions, who pay footballers, managers and executives vast sums, but whose cleaners and other workers earn so little that many rely on food banks to feed their families.
22 November - Judi Dench and Ian McKellen head cast for Zoom show in aid of UK theatre workers
Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Maggie Smith are among some of the biggest names in British theatre who will join forces for a one-off Zoom performance in aid of the struggling arts industry.
22 November -Manchester theatre staff use skills to upgrade homes after Covid layoffs
A number of theatre workers who lost their jobs when the coronavirus crisis forced live venues to close are retraining to insulate and upgrade homes as part of the fight against climate breakdown.
21 November -Met Opera Seeks Pay Cuts in Exchange for Pandemic Paychecks
The Metropolitan Opera has offered to start paying many employees who have been furloughed without pay since April up to $1,500 a week in exchange for new union contracts that include long-term pay cuts, the company’s general manager said in a meeting with staff on Friday.
20 November -Government urged to appoint commissioner to support freelancers
The government is being urged to appoint an official who would support the freelance workforce to become more resilient after Covid-19, in a letter from the Creative Industries Federation.
20 November -'Tis the season for solo pantos: Cinderella and co are going it alone
From Polly Lister playing a dozen characters in Scarborough’s Snow Queen to Tom Binns’s solitary Buttons, one is fun for 2020’s pantomimes
20 November -Purists look away, but Covid may have ended the stage/screen divide for good
With vaccines on the horizon and widespread distribution anticipated by the spring of next year, there’s every reason to hope that live performances will grow ever more prevalent as 2021 progresses. Producers will initiate new projects, companies and audiences will gather, and marquees will relight. What relief, what pleasure.
19 November - Theatre managements face tough choices in Lockdown 2.0
The industry’s big employers are grappling with impossible decisions during the second lockdown, says Alistair Smith – but the least they can do is communicate sensitively with their workers
19 November - Wearied theatremakers must take ferocious care of each other
With the news of a second national lockdown, the industry must reinvent itself and make new plans, says deputy artistic director Erica Whyman. But this time, creatives are tired and will need to stand together to find a way through
19 November - Soho Theatre to partner with Amazon Prime Video for three-series deal
Soho Theatre in central London has signed a multi-series deal with Amazon Prime video to present and broadcast shows in the UK, created on its stages.
Launching next month with season one (featuring 11 existing shows), further series will be unveiled over the course of 2021, each of which will be filmed at the capital’s theatre
19 November - Theatre must redouble efforts to look after its workforce’s mental health
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted our sector’s many inequalities, says producer Richard Jordan – let’s use this moment to reflect on how best to build a fairer industry as we look to reopening
19 November - Shakespeare's Globe to stream Sandi Toksvig Christmas show on-demand next month
Sandi Toksvig’s festive romp Christmas at the (Snow) Globe will be presented on-demand online from 21 December to 5 January.
Filmed on-stage at the London venue, the show runs for 45 minutes and has direction by Pip Broughton.
18 November - UK will miss out on EU cultural funding boost to aid Covid recovery
The European Union has agreed to bolster its financial provision for culture by a third more than planned over the next seven years to help its member states rebuild and support their arts sectors following Covid-19.
Creative Europe, to which the UK will lose access from January, is one of 10 EU programmes given an uplift in funding alongside the EU’s final financial budget for 2021 to 2027.
18 November - ‘2020 was meant to be my year’: How COVID-19 is impacting emerging performers
The arts industry has been hit hard by COVID-19.
It is worth £10.8bn a year to the UK economy, but the lockdown has caused venues to close, events to be cancelled, and left thousands of jobs at risk.
17 November - Forensic research is needed to count cost to society of shuttering theatre
At the beginning of this year, I spent a day with artists and researchers to help shape the research agenda of the new Centre for Cultural Value based at the University of Leeds.
Countless scientific studies have proved that structured, participatory group activities are the most impactful forms of arts engagement. They nourish the mind, body and soul through active movement and togetherness.
17 November - Brexit’s Toll On Britain’s Creative IndustriesThe Sadness & Madness that Awaits
Composer Howard Goodall sets out what performers will need to know in a post-Brexit world and reflects on the sorrow of the Government’s desire to erect barriers, when the job of creatives is to tear them down
17 November - Arts After Brexit study warns of two-year cultural hiatus in UK
Cultural organisations in the UK could face a two-year artistic hiatus triggered by Brexit in which they become more inward looking and less international, according to a report on the consequences of leaving the EU.
16 November - ACE refines terms for recovery grants to avoid 'double funding' of companies
Arts organisations that have been awarded money from the Culture Recovery Fund will only be allowed to apply for the newly extended furlough scheme if those staff costs are not covered by the rescue grant, it has been confirmed.
16 November - Ambassador Theatre Group to bring 2,500 casual staff back on to furlough scheme
Ambassador Theatre Group is to invite 2,500 of its casual and zero-hours workers on to the government’s furlough scheme. The announcement follows earlier indications that the company would not place casual workers back on to the scheme, which drew criticism from staff.
16 November - Cancelled theatre shows and rescheduled dates – a rolling list of what's happening during the second lockdown
This is a rolling, non-exhaustive list (we’ve tried our best!), so please check back in or check venue websites. We want to really emphasise this, be patient – a lot of venues, in conjunction with producers, are still trying to work through the current guidance and get plans ready.