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.

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The Prime Minister has today announced the proposed roadmap for the removal of restrictions. The full detail is here.

There are 4 stages of reopening – theatre and venues reopen in steps 3 and 4 as follows:

Step 3 will take place no earlier than 17 May, and at least five weeks after Step 2, following a further review of the data and the four tests. Again, the Government will announce one week in advance whether restrictions will be eased as planned.

Sectors which will reopen include:

  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas
  • Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events. Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
  • The Government will also make a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower. In addition, pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing.

Step 4 will take place no earlier than 21 June, and at least five weeks after Step 3, following a further review of the data against the four tests. As before, the Government will announce one week in advance whether restrictions will be eased as planned. With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step 4, the Government aims to:

  • Remove all legal limits on social contact, publishing accompanying guidance on how best to reduce the risk of transmission and protect ourselves and loved ones;
  • Reopen the remaining closed settings, including nightclubs and enable large events, including theatre performances, above the Step 3 capacity restrictions, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme and potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection, subject to further evaluation.

We will send more information as soon as discussions have taken place with DCMS, but these target dates are clearly useful for planning.

PRS call for views on online music licensing of theatre productions
The PRS has published a call for views on music licensing for online streaming of concerts, including theatre productions. The deadline for responses is 12 March 2021. We intend to respond on behalf of members and will be sending out a survey later this week, but please feel free to submit your own response to PRS if you prefer.

Lobbying
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’).

We would like to remind you to contact your MP ahead of the 2 March General debate on COVID-19 and the cultural and entertainment sectors (please note this is still provisional). If the debate goes ahead, ask them to speak about the impact on the theatre sector in their constituency and ask them to raise specific questions.

London Tourism Recovery Board 
The London Tourism Recovery Board has been created to underline the importance of hospitality, culture and attractions to the recovery of London. The Board is comprised of senior staff of London Business Improvement Districts, hoteliers, attractions, pub chains and other parts of the tourism economy, and Emma De Souza is on the Board to represent theatre. ALVA (who co-chairs the Board) also sits on the UK Government’s Tourism Industry Council and the Mayor of London’s various business task forces, so they will be able to report on the work of the Board at the highest and most relevant levels.

Emma also sits on the Board’s marketing subgroup, chaired by Sara Holt from Merlin Entertainments. This group has established weekly meetings with the VisitBritain and VisitEngland teams, and with London and Partners to identify roles and responsibilities, draft budgets, and target audiences for marketing campaigns for the rest of the calendar year. 

Fleabag Support Fund – Support for theatre professionals
The Fleabag Support Fund in partnership with The Royal Theatrical Fund opens on the 1st of every month for 5 days. The objective of the fund is to provide a small crisis grant to those who have worked professionally in the theatre industry. This includes on stage, front of house, backstage workers, comedians, cabaret performers, commercial dancers.

If you know anyone who would benefit from a grant from the Fund, please direct them to the website for more information and full eligibility and criteria.

Reminder: 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.

We have launched a series of videos with high profile theatre makers, talking about the turning points in their lives when they needed help – take a look at Denise Gough and Eddie Redmayne’s videos here.

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, particularly if you have high-profile contacts that can get involved with the video request. 


USEFUL RESOURCES

Coronavirus Recovery Guidance

Wellbeing and mental health support for you and your staff