The below correspondence is posted here by kind permission from the Society of London Theatre
The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is an organisation that works with and on behalf of their Members to champion theatre and the performing arts.
Step 4 guidance
Ahead of the anticipated move to Step 4 of the roadmap (to be confirmed on 12 July for the expected date of 19 July) the government are due to publish the revised guidance imminently. There will not be separate guidance for the performing arts, but rather there will be one over-arching document covering indoor and outdoor attractions, indoor and outdoor events (including business events and sports), leisure and recreation facilities, heritage attractions and structures and performing arts. As soon as it is published, we will circulate to all members.
Meeting with Minister Caroline Dinenage MP
Yesterday representatives of the theatre sector met with Minister of State for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage MP and officials from DCMS.
Issues covered include self-isolation protocols for performing arts, insurance for live events, audience confidence post COVID-19, and eligibility for CRF funding for commercial productions.
The chairs of SOLT and UK Theatre have since written to the Minister, noting the topics discussed and calling for action.
Self-isolation and Track & Trace
You will be aware of the announcement on Tuesday that from 16 August, those double vaccinated will not have to automatically self-isolate for 10 days on contact with a positive case. However, the current system is proving unworkable for theatres and shows now.
Yesterday, Julian Bird was quoted in a page 1 Telegraph story about how self-isolation rules after 19 July will damage sectors including theatre. We subsequently sent his statement (below) out to press:
‘Without an alternative to automatic self-isolation for casts and crew that come into contact with a positive case, more theatre and shows will be forced to close in England just as they are allowed to open in full. Given the strictly controlled working environment under which theatres are already operating, we need a testing regime to replace the current system as soon as possible and certainly no later than 19 July.’
We are extensively lobbying and working with government across multiple departments on this, including the ministerial meeting as above.
Face Coverings and “See It Safely”
Following the changes announced for Step 4, there has been much debate about the continued use of face coverings, and our thanks to all members who have contacted us on this issue.
Discussions with both Boards took place yesterday and our recommendation, as an industry, will be to strongly encourage the continued use of face coverings inside venues. We will be releasing a full statement on 12 July, following the final go-ahead on Step 4 of the Roadmap. We will also review this recommendation in the first part of September.
We will be issuing updated See It Safely guidelines for use beyond 19 July, to help boost audience confidence as theatres reopen fully. Research shows that there is continued nervousness and a need for reassurance in terms of Covid safety measures, and we want to build on positive audience sentiment around existing theatre safety measures. The above messaging on face coverings will be part of the revised See It Safely materials.
Vaccinations in Westminster
There are walk-in clinics for vaccinations now available throughout the West End for anyone to use. Full details are on the Westminster City Council website.
We have now sold over 77,000 Kids Week tickets in total, and continue to request more allocation from participating shows. Kids Week will be represented at the 14 July launch of the Mayor of London’s Family Fun season of summer activities, and we are partnering with London & Partners to promote Kids Week and our planned outdoor activities for families, which will take place in late August in Leicester Square Gardens (more detail to be announced soon).
If your show is participating in Kids Week and is able to film a short ‘shout out to Kids Week’ video for the Official London Theatre and Kids Week social channels, please get in touch. Here’s a recent example from The Prince Of Egypt.
Box Office Data
The SOLT data for the week ending 4 July reveals an advance of over £102m – the first time the advance has reached £100m since 16 March 2020. Weekly sales were up to 78% of what they were in the equivalent 2019 week.
Please keep using the #BackOnStage hashtag and encouraging colleagues / shows / casts to do the same, creating a unified industry message celebrating theatre’s return. If you would like your cast to borrow one of our #BackOnStage boards for a social media photo (e.g. here with the cast of Frozen) please get in touch with our Social Media Coordinator Jess and we’ll arrange to set this up for during rehearsals or backstage.
Job alert! UK Theatre are looking for a new Training & Events Executive
The successful applicant will be playing an integral role in the delivery of great programmes and events that help support individuals working offstage in the performing arts and develop their professional skills. As the theatre sector in the UK prepares to make a comeback, they will have the chance to help develop engaging, practical and informative content for live and online events to help strengthen of the skillset of individuals and organisations.
Please forward this to anybody who you think might be interested in applying for the position. For more information and how to apply please visit here.
Coronavirus Recovery Guidance
- Coronavirus Recovery Updates and Guidance – for SOLT Members
- Coronavirus Recovery Updates and Guidance – for UK Theatre Members
- Media Briefing Notes
- See It Safely Toolkit
- Working Safely During Coronavirus – Guidance
- Coronavirus Government Guidance Library
Wellbeing and mental health support for you and your staff
- Theatre Helpline
- Wellbeing resources webpage
- Mental health and wellbeing webinars (TheatreMeansBusiness.info)
Jobs & careers in the sector