November 2021

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30 November - National Theatre introduces mandatory face masks

The National Theatre in London has become the latest large-scale theatre to make face coverings mandatory for its audiences.

The NT described stepping up its Covid safety requirements for visitors as a “sensible additional measure to keep everyone safe at this time”.

Read more here

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30 November - ENO makes face coverings compulsory at London Coliseum

English National Opera has announced it will make face coverings mandatory for audiences attending the London Coliseum with immediate effect.

It follows a similar move by the Royal Shakespeare Company, which also announced this week that it will ask all audience members who are not exempt to wear a face covering when inside its building.

Read more here

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29 November - Royal Shakespeare Company makes masks mandatory at theatres

Face masks will become mandatory again for theatregoers attending Royal Shakespeare performances.

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) said the measure would affect audiences visiting its theatres following the latest government guidance and the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Read more here

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29 November - Mask rules 'ignored' at Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre, claims medic

A senior medic has called for a major theatre to be temporarily shut after claiming they failed to enforce Covid mask rules.

The consultant, who does not wish to be named, said he left a show at the Wales Millennium Centre, after about 80% of audience took off their masks.

Read more here

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29 November - Pantomime season: ‘People always say panto is in decline – but even Covid-19 couldn’t kill it off’

Panto is back – oh yes it is – and the first shows to open have given producers hope that things may be back to normal after a disastrous 2020, when the few that opened had to promptly close under tightened tier restrictions.

Read more here

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28 November - 'There's something special about panto in Scotland'

There’s something about the first sound of a brush on a drum, the dimming of the lights and the excited chatter of school children reducing to an awed hush which brings out the emotion in all of us.

I know there are plenty of people who won’t welcome the return of live panto, but I’m not one of them.

In fact, I’m sitting in the empty auditorium of Ayr Gaiety watching the cast of Jamie and the Unicorn run through their final paces, and grinning from ear to ear.

Read more here

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26 November - Our city’s soul-nourishing theatre is finally back, so why are the stalls only half full?

There are several reasons why people are staying away from the theatre, but there is something we can do to encourage at least some of them back

Read more here

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26 November - Andrew Lloyd Webber tells young actors they work in the service industry: ‘Nobody has a right to be on stage’

Andrew Lloyd Webber has criticised young cast members of his musical Cinderella, accusing them of not recognising that they work in the “service industry”.

Read more here

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25 November - Behind us? How panto rebounded from 2020’s winter of no content

After a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, the Christmas staple returns. As theatres prepare for an important festive season, Fergus Morgan finds panto producers are well aware of the big changes that need to be made to the art form and that, despite a cautious confidence about the road ahead, the ghost of 2020 still lingers

Read more here

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25 November - Boris Johnson ‘spotted without mask in theatre’

This would be third time in recent days when prime minister has been spotted massless

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25 November - Pantomime ticket sales drop a third on pre-pandemic levels

Ticket sales for pantomimes in English venues outside of London have dropped by a third compared to pre-pandemic levels, new research has suggested.

Read more here

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25 November - Fears over Christmas panto bookings as theatre ticket sales play catch-up

Beanstalks, horse costumes and dazzling dame dresses are being dusted off at theatres across Britain for the return of pantomime season. Oh yes they are!

But with the pandemic still not behind us, new research suggests many people are reluctant to return to live shows.

Read more here

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25 November - The problem with masks in theatres

As if our beleaguered prime minister didn’t have enough to worry about, now comes another unhelpful headline. For on a mid-week trip to Islington’s most fashionable theatre, the Almeida, Boris Johnson had the misfortune to be spotted – well, snapped – by another audience member after he had temporarily removed his face-mask.

Read more here

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24 November - Kully Thiarai: The arts sector has failed to build back better

Leeds 2023 chief executive Kully Thiarai has criticised arts organisations for their “significant failure” to reimagine their role in society and to build back better following the pandemic.

Read more here

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24 November - Lloyd Webber: Cinderella cast must not forget it works in the service industry

Andrew Lloyd Webber has accused younger cast members in his musical Cinderella of failing to remember they work in the “service industry”, adding that “nobody has a right to be on the stage”.

Read more here

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23 November - See-nothing, say-nothing Nadine Dorries tests her powers of self-censorship

Gt seems as if there may be two Nadine Dorries. The first is the one most people know. The MP who bunked off parliament to earn roughly £80k as a contestant on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! and who could pick a fight with her reflection. And then there’s the newly appointed cabinet minister who chose to mark her first appearance before the culture select committee by saying as little as possible in order to avoid any controversy. Quite which one Boris Johnson thought he was getting as his new culture secretary is anyone’s guess.

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23 November - Covid passports for Scotland not rolled out to theatres

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has stopped short of expanding Scotland’s Covid certification scheme to theatres and other smaller entertainment venues.

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23 November - One in three musicians earning nothing after the pandemic, charity says

One-third of musicians were still earning nothing after restrictions on live events were lifted this summer, according to UK charity Help Musicians.

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22 November - Broadway’s Return Is Triumphant, But Uncertainty Looms: “Humans Have to Be as Important as the Show”

Industry members talk New York’s billion-dollar theater industry, how COVID changed the culture and why Broadway’s return to “normal” may take years.

Read more here

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22 November - Panto-goers showing reluctance to book for Christmas shows – survey

Theatregoers are showing reluctance to book for festive productions, with a third of respondents to a survey stating they are “waiting to see what happens with Covid” before committing to seeing a show.

Read more here

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22 November - West End bouncing back but 'couldn't survive another lockdown' says Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber said London’s West End was showing signs of bouncing back after the financial damage caused by Covid, but theatres could not survive another lockdown.

Speaking to ITV News London the composer and theatre owner said he would back vaccine passports if it meant keeping performances going in future, similar to the way things work in New York.

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22 November - The best theatre can do for its workers costs nothing: treat them as human beings

The Stage’s regular Big Interview includes a number of set questions asked of all interviewees. The one I always enjoy reading (besides the question about rituals and superstitions, which are far more widespread than I had ever appreciated) is the answer the interviewee gives when asked about advice they would give for auditions.

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20 November - It’s not endgame for Irish theatre, but it is a struggle

Theatre has been resilient, but with the Gate in trouble, the sector is on a knife edge

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19 November - 'We are breaking through barriers': Calls to expand the use of subtitles in theatres and on television

There have been calls to expand the use of subtitles in theatres and on television as deaf performers “break through barriers” in the arts.

Read more here

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19 November - 2,000 Irish artists will get state salaries: we should do the same here

The Irish enjoy doing things differently from the British, and the gap between the two cultures will widen further with Dublin’s latest initiative. From next year the Irish government will offer a monthly income to 2,000 artists and other arts workers. Probably based on the Irish minimum wage, which is about £310 a week, the scheme will initially run for three years and cost the government roughly £21 million a year. 

Read more here

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19 November - Nadine Dorries: ‘Commercial producers did not need CRF funding’

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries has hit back at producers in the commercial sector who have criticised the lack of money given to them by the Culture Recovery Fund, claiming they “didn’t need the funding”.

Read more here

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19 November - New organisation launched to tackle sexual harassment in live comedy

An organisation has been established to tackle sexual harassment in the UK comedy industry. Get Off! Live Comedy was launched this week with a fundraiser at London’s Comedy Store featuring Sara Pascoe, Nish Kumar, Russell Howard and Sikisa Bostwick-Barnes.

Read more here

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19 November - 'Inconsistent' Covid safety policy for backstage workers exposed in new survey

Nearly half of theatre productions do not have an effective mask-wearing policy backstage and only a quarter require staff to be vaccinated, according to new research suggesting a high level of inconsistency in how theatres are approaching Covid safety.

Read more here

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19 November - Andrew Lloyd Webber: Vaccine passports in theatres an ‘obvious’ way to avoid new lockdown

Face masks and proof of jabs ‘a pretty low price to pay’ to avert more Covid restrictions, says composer

Read more here

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19 November - Nadine Dorries: Culture secretary says social media has been hijacked

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has said people have become afraid to say what they think for fear of being “cancelled”, and that left-wing activists have “hijacked” social media.
“You’ll hear some people in the theatre sector say, ‘We didn’t get any of that money’, but they are still standing and they are still running with plays back up, which actually is testament to the fact that they didn’t need the funding, because they are still here. They have private investors.”

Read more here

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19 November - Culture Recovery Fund: Full list of performing arts companies given CRF3 grants

Nearly 1,000 arts organisations have been awarded a share of £107 million in the latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund, including 248 theatres.

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19 November - 925 cultural organisations supported by £107 million in latest recovery fund

Hundreds of arts, heritage and cultural organisations across England will receive a share of £107 million from the additional £300 million announced by the Chancellor at March’s budget for the Culture Recovery Fund, bringing the total cash support package made available for culture during the pandemic to close to £2 billion.

Read more here

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18 November - Arts Council England announces new round of Cultural Recovery Fund recipients

A raft of venues and organisations have received further government-backed funding under the Cultural Recovery Fund.

As part of the ongoing fund, £93,000,000 was awarded to 819 organisations. Of that number, 265 are based in London, with 114 in the Midlands, 54 in Yorkshire, 31 in the north east, 94 in the north west, 48 in the east of England, 114 in the south east and 97 in the south west

Read more here

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18 November - Northern Ireland to introduce Covid passes at entertainment venues

The Northern Ireland Executive has approved an extension to its Covid pass scheme – which is expected to include mandatory certification for theatres – after ministers voted in favour of introducing the measure to combat rapidly increasing case numbers.

Read more here

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17 November -Museum Freelance wraps up after six successful years

After six years, we have decided to bring Museum Freelance to a close.

Like for so many others, the pandemic and the last 18 months have affected us in many different ways and led us to a great deal of reflection. After much consideration, now is the right moment for us to step away to make more time for other personal and voluntary commitments and pursue new professional opportunities.

Read more here

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17 November -More than half the public want improved safety measures in theatres - survey

More than half of adults would like to see improved safety measures in theatres following recent concerns raised around the safety of women, according to new research.

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17 November - Covid-19’s impact on arts, culture and heritage sector revealed by landmark report

A major new report revealing the economic impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s arts, culture and heritage sector, has been published by researchers at the University of Sheffield.

Read more here

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17 November - Spain scraps visa requirement for UK touring musicians

The UK’s music industry has welcomed the decision by the Spanish government to scrap post-Brexit visa requirements for UK artists on short-term tours, but warned significant issues still remain that will make many tours “impossible”.

Read more here

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17 November - Swansea cinema refuses to ask customers for pass

A cinema manager has refused to obey the Covid pass law, claiming it is an “infringement of our human rights”.

Since Monday, people must show an NHS Covid pass in Wales to legally enter cinemas, theatres and concert halls.

Read more here

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16 November - You’d think theatre's loyal show makers would be rewarded, right? Wrong – so wrong

We are living through the Great Resignation. Theatre professionals who managed to see their families, sleep and get some semblance of a life during the pandemic are quitting or simply not returning to the industry post-pandemic.

Read more here

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16 November - Scottish councils ban school panto trips, costing venues thousands

Venues have branded the decision as “devastating”, with Inverness’ Eden Court citing school-booking losses of £30,000 and the Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock having to cut its pantomime run by two weeks

Read more here

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15 November - Glyndebourne hopes beachcombing can turn tide in fight to green theatres

Formal attire may be encouraged for audiences at Glyndebourne but the sets are going to be flotsam and jetsam.

The opera house has been beachcombing to build a stage for a forthcoming production as it enters the age of the Theatre Green Book.

Read more here

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15 November - Welsh theatres criticise 'chaotic' Covid pass rules

Welsh theatre leaders have criticised the “chaotic” introduction of mandatory Covid passes for audiences.

Many are arguing the measure is being brought in without enough warning and that the sector is being unfairly treated.

Read more here

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15 November - Every West End theatre has now reopened since being closed by Covid

In mid-March 2020, every West End theatre in the UK was forced to close its doors. No one would have predicted that it would take until 15 November 2021 for all of them to return to action once again.

With the first preview of Cabaret this evening, every single one of the 37 West End theatres has officially recommenced live shows – following Moulin Rouge! over the weekend. That makes it 609 days since this was last possible.

Read more here

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15 November - Vaccine certificates now needed to visit theatres, cinemas and concert halls in Wales

People in Wales will now have to prove they are fully vaccinated or have had a negative lateral flow test to visit theatres, cinemas and concert halls after the existing NHS COVID Pass scheme was widened.

Read more here

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15 November - RSC boss: We’re a long way off normality – theatre is not out of the woods

Royal Shakespeare Company executive director Catherine Mallyon has revealed it will take a “good few years” for the company to get all of its theatre spaces up and running, warning the sector as a whole is “not out of the woods yet”.

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15 November - Theatre worries older fans lack tech for passes

A theatre director has expressed his worries older customers won’t be able to get their Covid vaccine passes by Monday.

Read more here

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15 November - Back to business as usual? Better for the West End to embrace a new normal

After I had my first child, I often found myself saying I just needed a little time before “things got back to normal”. What I didn’t appreciate was that this was the new normal. There was no going back to my previous life.

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13 November - Panto’s back, oh yes it is: UK theatres hope for revival after Covid fallout

There were cheers and boos, oohs and aahs in the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury this week at the first read-through of this year’s pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Read more here

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13 November - How the UK became the sick man of European tourism

It’s a country that has just endured national fuel shortages, isolated food shortages, and its government voted this fall to dump untreated sewage onto its famous coastlines. Oh — and it has the second highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world.

Read more here

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12 November - Covid safety measures key to winning back cautious audiences – survey

Covid-19 safety concerns are preventing a significant proportion of previously frequent arts attenders from returning to cultural venues, newly released research has suggested.

Read more here

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11 November - Alistair Spalding: Post-Brexit touring is a nightmare

Post-Brexit touring in Europe has been described as a “nightmare” by Sadler’s Wells artistic director Alistair Spalding, who fears other companies will be put off taking work internationally by the extra paperwork and costs.

Read more here

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11 November - Theatre Green Book can be pandemic’s silver lining

Theatre has found few silver linings in the pandemic. The adoption of digital as a means to improve access, maybe. Theatres putting greater emphasis on outreach work while their main stages were closed, perhaps. The role it played to bring long-standing and widespread inequalities to the fore, certainly – although to what end we do not yet know.

Read more here

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11 November - Climate Crisis Special

Our climate crisis special focuses on way theatremakers are campaigning and producing work that could help save the world

Read more here

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11 November - Theatre has suffered financially from the pandemic, but we must not forget the human consequences

As theatres reopen, people keep telling me that returning to work must be like riding a horse – you never forget how to do it. These observations often come from people who have never actually ridden a horse, or, for that matter, worked in the arts industry.

Read more here

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09 November - Covid pass extended to cinemas and theatres in Wales

People going to cinemas and theatres in Wales will be required to show a Covid pass after the Welsh government won a vote in the Senedd.

Currently, visitors to nightclubs and large events have to show they are fully vaccinated, have tested negative for Covid or have recently had the virus to enter.

Read more here

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09 November - Lyric Hammersmith Theatre launches ‘groundbreaking’ free actor training course

A free two-year acting programme for young people from under-represented groups is being launched by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, which aims to offer a “genuine alternative pathway into theatre”.

Read more here

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08 November - No 10 is marching through cultural institutions – and making a battleground of the arts

By interfering in appointments, the government is trying to shape museums and trusts in its own image

Read more here

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08 November - There’s so much shows can do to go green without it costing the earth

Theatre has suddenly woken up to the severity of the climate and ecological crisis and artistic responses to it are mushrooming. I have two different climate crisis musicals currently in development, but even where it’s not explicitly the theme, I still try to Trojan Horse climate ideas – so-called ‘planet placement’ – into everything I write.

Read more here

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05 November - Rankin reveals theatre’s backstage magicians: ‘Audiences would be shocked!’

The photographer has brought directors, door keepers and technicians out of the shadows for a special exhibition celebrating the survival of the West End

Read more here

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05 November - Climate crisis | How theatremakers are responding to COP26

With the eyes of the world on Glasgow for the COP26 summit, David Pollock finds local creatives are doing their part by producing works that highlight the climate crisis as well as helping to amplify the competing voices trying to be heard

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05 November - Theatre’s hiring crisis

As theatres fight to find and retain backstage workers, Alice Saville talks to people on the frontline of theatre’s hiring crisis.

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04 November - Campaign to address 'stagnated' wages for panto stage managers

Stage managers have called out “stagnated” wages and deteriorating working conditions in pantomime, with Equity planning a campaign in 2022 to push producers to commit to better pay.

Read more here

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04 November - Creating safe and inclusive workspaces in theatre

As a new code of conduct is launched for the theatre industry, Sebastian Cheswright Cater makes the case for the journey the sector needs to go on to make meaningful change. 

Read more here

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04 November - Making UK theatres sustainable will cost £1bn, research suggests

More than £1 billion is needed to make the UK’s theatre buildings fully sustainable research has suggested. The Theatres Trust’s survey said an “urgent challenge” is facing the sector if it is to transform in response to the climate emergency.

Read more here

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