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.

Find out more about SOLT and visit their website here.

We have published this week’s Performing Arts in Politics – A look ahead which members can view by logging on to the advocacy page on the SOLT or UK Theatre websites (scroll down to the drop down called ‘Lobbying This Week’). If you are pressed for time, we recommend focusing on the following two things:

  1. Contact your MP ahead of the 2 March General debate on COVID-19 and the cultural and entertainment sectors. Ask them to speak about the impact on the theatre sector in their constituency and ask them to raise specific questions.
  2. Submit evidence about what your theatre needs from its local government as it rebuilds from COVID-19. The Public Accounts Committee will question senior officials at HM Treasury and MHCLG on the evolving financial pressures on local government and support provided by central government, and whether government has taken effective steps both in asking local government to deliver new services and in meeting its responsibilities for supporting financial sustainability across the sector. Evidence can be submitted here by Thursday 11 March 2021.

First In, Last Out – 16 March
We will be marking 16 March, the anniversary of theatres closing, with an industry-wide press and social campaign, linked to raising awareness about the challenges still facing the industry and what we need to move forward, whilst also raising awareness for the Theatre Artists Fund as help and support is still desperately needed.

As part of the social media element of the campaign, from tomorrow we will be launching a series of videos with high profile theatre makers, talking about the turning points in their lives when they needed help. This will build up to 16 March when we will be asking everyone to post #FirstInLastOut across their social channels. Please find more information on our selfie and video requests in the PDF here (NB: please do not share the collage and videos in the PDF on any social media platforms). Please get involved and share the PDF with any contacts you have who would be willing to participate.

Inc Arts UK would like your help in shaping anti-racism action for the theatre sector 
UK Theatre / SOLT partnered with Inc Arts UK in November on the Speak-Listen-Reset-Heal anti-racism conference, which was attended by 3,000 people working in the performing arts. 

Following on from the conference, Inc Arts would welcome input from senior leaders in theatre to help test and explore a proposal that could have wide-reaching significance for the sector. 

If you are interested and able to spare an hour in the first instance please contact Inc Arts Director Amanda Parker with the subject heading ‘THE BIG IDEA’ and she will be in touch with more details. You can email Inc Arts directly on Inc Arts plans to hold consultation conversations over the coming weeks. 

Audience Research Update
Please find links below to research that you may find useful:

Information on Culture Restart Toolkit national cultural audience sentiment tracker

Webinar – Culture Restart: Latest Findings & Digital Focus | Tue 23 Feb at 2pm
The Insights Alliance (Indigo, Baker Richards and One Further) present the latest findings from their Culture Restart sentiment tracker, and take a deeper dive into what the responses are telling us about digital culture. Click here to find out more.

Latest national results
The Insights Alliance has released a blog with the latest headlines from the ongoing Audience & Visitor Tracker research, looking at responses from January 2021 and comparing them to the baseline period of October to December 2020. Click here to read the blog.

Interactive dashboard
You can now explore data from the baseline period (October – December 2020) in more detail with the interactive dashboard created by the team at One Further. You can filter by age, region and other criteria and see how responses are changing over time. Click here to explore the data

Take part in Culture Restart
Cultural organisations can sign up to join this ongoing research at any time. It is free to take part in and offers organisations a way to check in regularly with audiences and visitors, and track their sentiment over time. Click here to find out more.

REMINDER – Upcoming Webinars
Thanks to everyone who attended our SOLT & UK Theatre Members’ webinar this afternoon. We have two more webinars this week:

Hearts for the Arts – Winners Announced
UK Theatre are proud to have once again partnered with the National Campaign for the Arts’ Hearts for the Arts Awards. Nominations were received from across the UK for each of the three award categories. Despite the incredible hardships faced by Local Authorities in 2020, this year’s awards have seen a huge number of nominations, as local communities turned to the arts for solace, strength and connectivity during the pandemic. The winners are:

  • Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker: Andy Dawson (Inspire Youth Arts). In his role as Service Manager, Andy has strategically planned and secured funds to deliver fantastic creative journeys for young people across Nottinghamshire.
  • Best Arts Champion – Councillor: Councillor Janet Emsley (Rochdale Borough Council) for her consistent and energetic support of the arts in Rochdale.
  • Best Arts Project: Arts E-Live (Mole Valley District Council). A community arts festival of over 50 events in the fields of music, theatre, poetry, creative writing, children’s events, street art, craft, filmmaking and dance.
  • Best Arts Project: N17 (Haringey Council). A radio programme created in partnership by students of Harris Academy Tottenham, Kick it Out, Threads Radio, Haringey Council, RoughHouse Theatre and playwright, Dougie Blaxland.
  • Best Arts Project: Create & Learn PlayKits (London Borough of Wandsworth Arts Service). Wandsworth creative organisations worked together with Wandsworth Council to make and distribute over 3,000 kits of creative materials and activities to children aged 6-10 years old in most need.



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