September 2020

The Stage logo

30 September - We are still in Act II of a long, three-act play

With new restrictions on the horizon and extensions to the furlough and self-employed schemes looking unlikely, it could be some time before we move to performances under Stage Five of the reopening roadmap

Read more here

The Stage logo

30 September - National Theatre and RSC awarded share of £2.5m to protect arts learning

Bristol Old Vic, the Royal Shakespeare Company, London’s National Theatre and London’s Unicorn Theatre are among 66 arts organisations to be given emergency funding to safeguard their community and education work during the pandemic.

Read more here

BBC News logo

30 September - 'Panto parade' highlights the plight of arts venues

Dozens of pantomime dames have marched on Westminster, as part of a day of action highlighting the plight of the live events industry.

The parade was organised after the rise in coronavirus cases prompted the cancellation of the 2020 panto season.

Read more here

The Stage logo

30 September - The time has come for theatre to show its teeth

As the government repeatedly shows its disregard for the future of theatre and its workforce, Alistair Smith says venues should turn off the lights and show how soulless city centres around the UK would be without them

Read more here

The Stage logo

30 September - Performing arts donations from individuals down 63% on 2019 – report

Donations to performing arts organisations in the UK from individuals have fallen by 63% in the last six months, compared to the same period last year, data analysis has revealed.

Read more here

The Guardian Logo

29 September - Government accused of 'ripping the heart' out of UK night-time economy

The government has been accused of abandoning the night-time and theatre sectors with its winter economy plan, which critics say will usher in a wave of mass redundancies and venue closures before the end of 2020.

Read more here

The Stage logo

29 September - Royal Albert Hall announces festive season to protect jobs

The Royal Albert Hall has announced it is to reopen for live performance with a socially distanced festive season in order to protect jobs.

Read more here

Whats On Stage logo

29 September - The Mousetrap postpones West End return over Covid uncertainty

The Mousetrap has postponed its imminent return to the West End over fears of future Covid restrictions.

Agatha Christie’s whodunnit, which first played in London over 67 years ago, was meant to be presented with no touching and social distancing on stage.

Read more here

The Stage logo

29 September - Improved working conditions would be something to celebrate, not Brexit

If the government wants to recapture the optimism of the 2012 Olympics, says Catherine Kodicek, £120 million towards fairer working structures might be a better gesture than a misguided ’Festival of Brexit’

Read more here

North Wales Live logo

28 September - £7m Covid 'lifeline' for Welsh TV and arts freelancers who will be asked for a big favour in return

Freelancers working in the Welsh arts, cultural and TV sectors are to share a £7m fund set up to help those hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Cultural Recovery Fund will provide a safety net following recent reports that over a third of freelancers in the sector do not have enough money to live on.

A separate initiative, a Freelancers’ Pledge, is also being drawn up so that creative types can help redesign hospitals and town centres as Wales recovers from the pandemic.

Read more here

Whats On Stage logo

28 September - Culture Secretary: Reopening of theatres has "stalled" given rise in number of cases

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden was quizzed by Andrew Marr this weekend about the state of the arts during the ongoing pandemic.

Dowden batted away Marr’s points about the fact that a large part of the arts workforce has yet to receive any form of specific aid, having found themselves ineligible for the SEISS initiative to support self-employed workers.

He also went on the defensive about the fact that the regularly trumpeted £1.57bn package has yet to be distributed to either smaller or larger arts organisations, with many of the biggest arts employers unlikely to see any form of financial assistance before December.

Read more here

The Stage logo

28 September - Only a third of independent companies received emergency funding – survey

Just 34% of independent theatre organisations received emergency Covid-19 funding before July, research from the Independent Theatre has suggested

Read more here

The House Live Green logo

28 September - When we rebuild our creative industries, diversity and representation must be key

The UK’s creative industries were already an unequal playing field before Covid-19 struck – with an uncertain future and high levels of self-employment, we must ensure that all stories can be told

Read more here

The Stage logo

28 September - Empty seats symbolise lost audiences, but also talent leaving theatre forever

The #TakeASeat initiative at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum theatre is a powerful evocation of what theatregoers are missing and a haunting reminder of the freelancers who are being forced out of the industry

Read more here

The Guardian Logo

27 September - 'There will be positives': artistic directors on theatre's terrible year

The Observer revisits six theatre bosses appointed in 2019 to discuss the existential threat to their industry, and the fightback

Read more here

Evening Standard Logo

26 September - 'Theatre isn't optional — it's fundamental': London's theatre leaders on what they need from the government

Months after closing, London’s theatres are still in limbo — the sector’s leaders tell us what they need from the Government now.

Read more here

Exeunt Magazine Logo

26 September - People are theatre’s biggest asset; it’s time to start valuing them

As the UK’s leaders use the language of business to justify further devastation to theatre, Alice Saville argues that they’re looking for value in the wrong places.

Read more here

The Telegraph Logo

25 September - The Government seems brazenly willing to discard Britain’s mental health

Theatre has been viable for thousands of years. Yesterday’s announcement from the Chancellor that our industry is not viable (whatever that means) represents an almighty blow and is, frankly, a huge insult to the theatre industry, one of this country’s most financially successful and emotionally essential sectors of the economy.

Read more here

Whats On Stage logo

25 September - Sonia Friedman: The Chancellor's announcement was 'a huge insult to the theatre industry'

Producer Sonia Friedman, responsible for some of the most gargantuan hits in the West End including The Book of Mormon and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, has spoken out against the new employment schemes announced yesterday by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Read more here

The Telegraph Logo

24 September - Not 'viable'? Rishi Sunak just told our entire creative industry to get another job

The Chancellor’s Job Support Scheme has left thousands of arts workers with exactly two choices: howl in despair, or leave the profession

Read more here

Whats On Stage logo

24 September - 'It will not be enough' – the arts sector responds to the Chancellor's new job support scheme

Industry leaders have responded to the Chancellor’s new schemes to help support workers through the coronavirus pandemic after the furlough initiative is dropped at end of October.

The existence of both the newly configured Jobs Support Scheme and amended SEISS (to help the self-employed) were commended, though the policies themselves were far from favourably received, being described as a “devastating blow” and leaving “many hundreds of thousands of workers in events, arts and cultural parts of the economy with a grim future.”

Read more here

Ipse Logo

24 September - SEISS announcement is “woefully inadequate”. Government must do more for the self-employed, especially forgotten freelancers who face “dark winter ahead”

IPSE has responded to the announcement that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is being extended at 20 per cent of earnings. IPSE has said that although it is right to extend the scheme, in its current form it is “woefully inadequate”, particularly as it still excludes one in three self-employed people, such as limited company directors and the newly self-employed.

Read more here

The Stage logo

24 September - Chancellor accused of neglecting arts community in latest round of Covid support

The chancellor has been accused of neglecting theatre and the arts in the new support schemes announced today, with industry figures claiming government has “once again overlooked their needs”

Read more here

UK Parliment Logo

24 September - Robust action by government needed now to prevent culture sector from collapse

The DCMS Committee is urging the government to take immediate action to enable the cultural and sporting sectors to recover from the impact of Covid-19.

It is calling on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to use the pause created by the latest Covid-19 restrictions, to implement a number of recommendations that would enable venues and stadiums, to plan a return of audiences to capacity when it is safe to do so.

Read more here

The Stage logo

23 September - Creative industries' recovery must not focus solely on London, researchers warn

The arts sector’s emergence from the pandemic must include UK-wide investment to help rebuild the creative industries, the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre has argued

Read more here

Whats On Stage logo

23 September - ATG suspends all 2020 pantomimes until next year

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) has suspended all of its pantomime productions until 2021, it has been confirmed.

The group owns a large number of venues across the UK, often some of the biggest in their respective cities.

Read more here

The Stage logo

23 September - MIF pledges to help 10,000 unemployed young people into creative industries

Nearly 10,000 unemployed young people are set to benefit from training and workshops with cultural organisations, under plans announced by Manchester International Festival

Read more here

The Guardian Logo

23 September - Royal Ballet announces October comeback with 100 dancers

One of the largest dance performances to happen anywhere in the world since the coronavirus pandemic began has been announced featuring the full company of the Royal Ballet – and while it will be socially distanced, there will be dance duets thanks to couples in bubbles.

Read more here

The Stage logo

23 September - Theatre risks losing a generation of writers – we had to try something new

Artistic director Kate Wasserberg explains how Out of Joint has questioned its purpose in the face of the Covid crisis and responded with Stockroom, a radical restructure designed to be put artists at the heart of its organisation

Read more here

BECTU Logo

22 September - A further six months without audiences could be the final nail in the coffin

Bectu has responded to the Prime Minister’s statement on changes to the COVID guidance.

Read more here

Whats On Stage logo

22 September - Live theatre able to continue with social distancing, though measures expected for six months

Venues will remain open with social distancing in place, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced with further confirmation by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Johnson stated that, despite new restrictions being put in place from Thursday, rules are “by no means a return to the full lockdown from March.”

Read more here

Broadway World Logo

22 September - Ambassador Theatre Group Suspends All Performances Through 27 November

As a result of ongoing social distancing restrictions, Ambassador Theatre Group has now suspended all performances at its UK venues until Friday 27 November 2020.

If you have made a booking that is affected by this suspension, you do not need to do anything. ATG is currently contacting customers whose original tickets were for performances up to 18 October. Customers booked for remaining performances will be contacted in the week commencing 5 October.

Read more here

Whats On Stage logo

22 September - Amateur theatre and choirs no longer exempt from rule of six in England, Culture Secretary reveals

Amateur theatre productions and choirs will not be allowed if they have more than six individuals involved under new Covid restrictions, it has been announced.

These groups had previously been exempt from “the rule of six” brought in in England by the UK government to limit social gatherings. From Thursday however, they will have to abide by these rules, as amateur sports teams are set to do.

Read more here

The Guardian Logo

22 September - Third of British musicians may quit industry amid pandemic

Musicians’ Union, whose survey also finds one-third of professional musicians can’t access emergency support, criticises DCMS and Treasury over ‘lack of understanding’

Read more here

The Stage logo

21 September - ATG lays off further 500 staff as it prepares for 2021 reopenings

Ambassador Theatre Group is to lay off a further 500 members of staff, as it prepares for the reality of not reopening its venues until next year

Read more here

The Stage logo

21 September - Garfield Weston Foundation launches £25m Covid culture fund

The foundation has established a £25 million fund to support the cultural sector through the coronavirus crisis, with organisations able to bid for up to £2 million each

Read more here

BBC News logo

21 September - Salford's Lowry theatre to stage real-life legal dramas as makeshift court

Two theatres in The Lowry arts centre in Salford are being converted into makeshift courtrooms to help clear the current backlog of cases.

It’s one of the latest venues to be taken over as a so-called Nightingale Court by the Ministry of Justice.

Read more here

The Stage logo

21 September - Creatives including Shelley Maxwell set up production company

With many freelancers contemplating leaving the industry, funders must seize this moment for change and support individual artists or risk losing them forever

Read more here

The Guardian Logo

21 September - The next act: how the pandemic is shaping online theatre's future

The explosion of digital productions of all sizes has shown great creativity and made hit shows more accessible – but is it all financially sustainable?

Read more here

The Stage logo

21 September - This crisis is a chance to reset theatre subsidy and support artists directly

With many freelancers contemplating leaving the industry, funders must seize this moment for change and support individual artists or risk losing them forever

Read more here

The Guardian Logo

20 September - What to expect at a socially distanced night at the theatre

It has been six months since actors trod the boards of theatres across the country but finally the curtains are ready to go up.

A growing number of shows have been announced both in London and around the country. But how does a socially distanced night out at the theatre work? And if theatres can’t fit as many people in as they did pre-pandemic, does that mean tickets are more expensive?

Read more here

The Stage logo

18 September - Panto dames to march on Westminster in call for action to save theatre

Pantomime dames will march through London on September 30, as they join fellow creatives in highlighting the plight facing the theatre industry and its workers

Read more here

The Stage logo

18 September - Most UK arts organisations hope to present in-person shows by December – report

Almost three quarters of UK arts organisations expect to return to in-person performances by the end of the year, a news study by TRG Arts has revealed

Read more here

Whats On Stage logo

18 September - Westminster Council reveals plans for open-air festival featuring West End shows, ENO and more

Westminster City Council has revealed plans to host a series of arts experiences for visitors in early October.

As part of their “Inside Out” festival, the area will mount open-air performances from West End musicals, the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, and the Royal Philharmonic Brass Ensemble, as well as an open-air gallery on the National Gallery’s north terrace on Trafalgar Square.

Read more here

The Stage logo

17 September - Pay freeze and lay-off clause in Covid-19 contract changes for backstage workers

Backstage workers will see their pay frozen and have contracts that provide for lay-offs in relation to further Covid-19 restrictions, under temporary contract changes aimed at getting the industry “back on its feet”

Read more here

Whats On Stage logo

17 September - Nuffield Southampton Theatres venue to reopen following takeover by Mayflower Theatres Trust

The Nuffield Southampton Theatres’ city venue will reopen under new management and with a new name, it has been revealed.

The Studio 144 building, which houses a variety of spaces, will look to welcome visitors from next spring after a takeover was approved this week.

Read more here

The Stage logo