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.
The Prime Minister yesterday evening announced a delay of four weeks to Step 4 of the roadmap.
SOLT & UK Theatre released the following statement:
‘The proposed four-week delay to full reopening of live entertainment venues will have serious implications for many theatres and performing companies around the country.
‘This delay not only impacts productions and theatres preparing to open in the next few weeks, but also shows currently running socially distanced, which had planned to increase their capacity – and producers making the difficult decision whether to start rehearsals for shows due to open in late July or August, with thousands of jobs hanging in the balance.
‘Particularly at risk are large-scale commercial productions, which have received little or no Cultural Recovery Fund support and cannot survive under social distancing.
‘We urge Government to consider greater support for affected theatre organisations, by offering a tailored insurance scheme, allocating the remainder of the Cultural Recovery Fund, and extending full furlough and the Business Rates holiday.
‘Once theatres are given the go-ahead to fully return, we will continue to implement industry-wide ‘See It Safely’ measures including enhanced cleaning, one-way systems, contactless ticketing and security, and the wearing of masks if required.
‘The safety of theatre audiences and staff is our top priority, and we want everyone to be confident to return to full houses on the basis of the latest scientific data. We need Government to confirm as soon as possible that restrictions will be lifted by 19 July – a clear, irreversible reopening date will boost audience confidence at a time when it is vital theatre fans support the industry they love.’
Performing Arts Guidance
The delay means that for operational purposes, the Performing Arts Guidance (updated at Step 3) continues to apply.
Events Research Programme/Pilots
It was also announced that it is the intention to continue with the Events Research Programme, including “some theatrical performances”. Following the announcement, we were in touch with DCMS last night but unfortunately there is no more information on this at the present time. You may be aware that the Prime Minister was asked a question about Andrew Lloyd Webber, and following this Lord Lloyd Webber released the following statement to the press:
“My goal is, and will always be, to fight for the full and safe reopening of theatre and live music venues up and down the country. I was pleased and surprised to hear the Prime Minister mention Cinderella as part of his announcement today, but I can’t comment further on the proposed pilot until I know more about the scheme.” Andrew Lloyd Webber
SOLT and UK Theatre continue to work with DCMS and others on the need for an insurance system for theatre going forward. The Telegraph at the weekend included a very optimistic article that this was imminent. While discussions continue and we remain hopeful that a scheme can be agreed, we would urge caution around the issue for the present time.
Media Briefing Notes
To reflect the announcement, we have also updated our media briefing notes.
DCMS has published their latest EU / UK Newsletter. This issue contains information on the following, and more:
· EU Settlement Scheme closes on 30 June.
· Overview of importing and exporting requirements and processes.
· Consultations on trade with Canada, Mexico and India.
SOLT and UK Theatre are looking for people to join our Safeguarding Working Group
If you have safeguarding skills, knowledge or experience, SOLT and UK Theatre would like to hear from you. We are forming a Safeguarding Working Group, whose focus will be consulting with us on the development of initiatives to support the safeguarding of the theatre workforce.
Projects we are looking into developing include a whistleblowing hotline and online reporting system, principles for safer more inclusive working, training courses, and trained specialists.
We anticipate there being four online working group meetings a year. Payment will be made available for attendance if required.
In addition to hearing from people with knowledge of this area of work, we are also keen to ensure that we have diverse representation of participants. We are looking for up to 10 people to join us, representing a mix of different organisation types (e.g. commercial and not-for-profit), from different regions and devolved nations, and a mix of demographics including gender, disability and ethnicity, for example.
If you or someone in your organisation is interested and has appropriate knowledge or experience, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, explaining what skills and experience you have, telling us which organisation you work for, and any demographics you feel comfortable communicating, and we will be back in touch with you. Please contact us by Friday 25 June.
Supporting your shows and building audience confidence
We will not be doing a big social media moment on June 21st and instead will wait until we get the go ahead to open to full audiences. We will be issuing a new version of the See it Safely video, encouraging audiences to support the shows that are open and continue to encourage audiences and cast to share their experiences of being back in the theatre. Audiences will be our greatest ambassadors so please do encourage the use of the #BackOnStage wherever possible and ensure you are using See it Safely to demonstrate how seriously we take the safety of our audiences.
UK Theatre supports the launch of the Anti-Racism Rider
UK Theatre is supporting the launch of the Anti-Racism Rider. The Rider and accompanying checklist offer a series of actions for anti-racist practice, giving a framework to establish the baseline of expectations and support between stakeholders on a touring production.
It seeks to foster closer working relationships between companies & venues, with the intention of providing a standard of care and commitment from both theatres & producers. It aims to be applicable to any touring production or company, irrespective of scale or remit.
UK Theatre welcomes the Rider as a useful contribution to the discussions around making our venues safer, more inclusive and more welcoming. We look forward to consulting with our membership on future developments of the Rider as a practical anti-racist resource.
UK Theatre are hiring – 7 days to go to apply for Marketing & Membership Executive position
We have an exciting opportunity for a Marketing and Membership Executive to join the UK Theatre Team. This is a key role in our organisation promoting our work to our membership and the wider theatre industry. It would involve planning and delivering our marketing activity as well as devising and implementing membership strategies to retain and recruit members.
If you’re interested in applying, find out more 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