Live performance indoors gets go-ahead
The government has announced that as of tomorrow, August 15, live performances that observe strict social distancing can return indoors., but it was met with a cautious response.
“The nation’s hard work to keep the virus under control means we can now make further careful progress on recovery with allowing audiences back for indoor performances, fans back at sports events and the reopening of more Covid-19-secure leisure businesses” culture secretary Oliver Dowden said today, announcing stage 4 of the government’s five-stage programme for plays, dance concerts and sporting events. .
However, theatres and concert halls will still have to operate at about 25% seating capacity, far below break-even.
“We are pleased to hear the update about stage 4 of the government’s five-stage roadmap for the return of professional performing arts and hope very much that this will be sustainable and enable stage 5 to be reached as soon as possible” said Greg Doran and Catherine Mallyon of the RSC. “The ongoing requirement for social distancing of audiences, as well as of performers, means that we must wait until we reach stage 5 to plan the re-opening of theatres for our full-scale indoor productions.
“We also await further details of the repayable finance element of the government support package and hope that it will assist us in making it financially viable for us to reopen.”
Some theatres, such as the National Theatre and the Bridge, have pre-empted the relaxation and already announced new productions.
The Musicians’ Union’s general secretary Horace Trowbridge said the announcement would not mean layers being able to make a living at their profession yet. ““The government's £1.57bn for the arts, while a great investment in cultural organisations, will not filter down to the majority of musicians and creators” he said. “We still fear a huge talent exodus from the music industry which would be devastating and take years, if not decades, to claw back”.