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.

Please note that from next week and until the w/c 6 September, we will reduce the frequency of our newsletter to once a week on Thursdays, unless there are any urgent announcements.

Updated guidance on NHS COVID Pass
The NHS COVID Pass lets you share your Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination records or test COVID-19 status in a secure way. The guidance has been updated including how the NHS COVID Pass can be stored now using the Apple Wallet when using an iPhone or iPad. Full details can be found here.

New Remote Working Toolkit launched 
Remote Working Toolkit has been launched to help organisations identify the potential for remote and mixed model working and provide practical tips for implementation. 

Designed for theatre organisations and based on research with theatre sector workers, the toolkit was developed by Parents and Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA), following a commission from SOLT / UK Theatre in response to the needs of industry members. 

Alongside the Toolkit, SOLT / UK Theatre and PiPA will be hosting a free webinar on 30 September 2021, 10am-12pm, to offer theatre employers the chance to discover more about these resources. 

The webinar will feature case studies from the Royal Shakespeare Company, Mercury Theatre, Colchester and Costume in Theatre, Entertainment and Arts, who have successfully implemented remote or mixed model working policies. 

Click here to register for the webinar.

TFL Congestion Charge proposals
TFL has opened a consultation on the future operation of the Congestion Charge, reviewing existing temporary measures widening the scope and level of the charge to mitigate TFL’s loss of income during the pandemic. New proposals include reducing operating hours for weekdays and weekends, and keeping the current charge of £15. These changes aim to support London’s culture, hospitality and night-time economies, including the theatre sector.

In a press release announcing the consultation, Julian Bird gave the following comment: 

‘The theatre industry welcomes this consultation; removing the Congestion Charge in the evenings will help support our sector’s pandemic recovery, benefitting audiences and theatre workers travelling into the West End.’

Sunday Shows campaign
We are planning a campaign to highlight the fact that more shows than ever are now offering Sunday performances. We are pitching to a number of different press outlets to secure coverage highlighting the extra shows and the new flexibility this offers audiences. If you are a UK Theatre or SOLT member and have started to introduce Sunday performances, please let us know.

With regards to London shows, we will post an article on Official London Theatre and are inviting social media influencers to cover Sunday shows and talk about the benefits of attending on a Sunday. If your show / theatre is putting on Sunday performances, please let us know if you would be open to inviting influencers to cover the experience and promote the show.

ATG have created a logo for use by shows with Sunday performances – under the banner ‘On Stage On Sundays’ – which is downloadable here. They are keen for it to be used across the industry.  

 #BackOnStage Social Media campaign 
Since 17 May there have been over 10,300 uses of the hashtag across Instagram & TikTok (from UK accounts), this includes shows & theatres all over the UK but also audiences. We really want that number to keep building as more shows reopen over the rest of Summer and the Autumn.

Please remember to use the hashtag whenever posting about your show, especially on first performances and opening nights. And please help us spread the word by telling your colleagues to use it. All hashtag activity can be found at officiallondontheatre.com/backonstage.

Sam Mendes South Bank Sky Arts Award
We are delighted to share that last week, in recognition of his work in spearheading the Theatre Artists Fund, Sam Mendes received the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts During the Pandemic for an Individual.

Established by Sam Mendes, the Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre, the Theatre Artists Fund has provided emergency relief grants to theatre workers and freelancers throughout the UK affected by Covid-19 over the last year. The fund has been managed and administered by the Theatre Development Trust, providing grants of £1,000 to those in our sector in need of urgent and critical financial assistance.

In his acceptance speech, Sam acknowledged the huge contribution of the thousands who donated and the major input of those who helped to realise the fund in support of the UK’s cultural workforce. The fund has received £1.25 million of public funding from Arts Council England, alongside more than 3,000 donations from people, foundations and businesses and has now provided over 7,200 grants since its inception in July 2020.

Watch the video of Sam’s speech here.

Sam also announced the development of a two-year pilot bursary programme, working in conjunction with Backstage Trust, for UK theatre freelance professionals. The new scheme will aim to empower freelancers to be part of the next stage of the industry’s recovery from the pandemic, and to create employment opportunities.

We are so grateful for each and every donation, which enables us to help more professionals in our sector who are struggling. You can donate to the Theatre Artists Fund here

USEFUL RESOURCES

Coronavirus Recovery Guidance 

Wellbeing and mental health support for you and your staff

Jobs & careers in the sector