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.
With the rapidly evolving situation with the new Omicron variant, we wanted to give you an update as to activity over the past few days.
Here is an overview of some of the activity the Media & Marketing Team have been undertaking to support the shows that remain open.
Here we are compiling a list of London show cancellations by performance date for industry reference only, so please do not share more widely. We will be communicating what we know with press separately. Please ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is receiving your show cancellation notices and if anything is incorrect please let us know asap.
Below is the latest update with regard to government lobbying:
Firstly, multiple engagements across government are taking place, including a meeting with representatives from across DCMS sectors on Friday with both DCMS and HMT ministers and officials present, where Julian presented the current situation within, and the needs of, the theatre industry. This has been accompanied by a lot of data being shared with officials on an ongoing basis – thank you to all who have been feeding in as this has helped enormously.
Today, we have been part of a briefing with the Labour shadow cabinets teams for DCMS and Treasury, and we have also met with the Freelancers Make Theatre Work team to try and ensure we can best cover freelancers’ needs.
We are back engaged in discussions of what financial support the sector will need. In numerous other discussions, we have focused on some key asks – these also align to most other sectors:
1. Widening of eligibility criteria to CRF emergency resource grant strand to include previous recipients of CRF repayable finance, and changing the formation date requirements to allow more commercial productions, which may have only formed since theatres reopened earlier this year, to apply to the strand. This fund will also need topping up with more money but could be a rapid deployment to help quickly. Widening this CRF fund would also allow for greater support of workforce.
2. An immediate return to 5% VAT on ticket sales and business rates relief on cultural buildings.
3. The reintroduction of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme / Self Employed Income Support Scheme for sectors affected by closures.
4. A contribution to the Theatre Artist Fund (and Help Musicians) to support cultural freelancers who may continue to fall through the cracks.
5. TTR – a simple change to the legislation to allow for expenses incurred since 27 October to benefit from the higher rate will give producers in both the commercial and not for profit sectors greater confidence and resilience, whilst also continuing to incentivise future work.
We expect conversations around these areas to continue through the coming days.
As you know, nothing has been announced re any future restrictions but there is enough in the media for us to believe that measures are being actively considered – understanding when and what the measures are (as well as their duration), is obviously crucial and we’ll keep you updated as and when we know more.