Government insurance plan ‘not good enough’ – theatres

The government’s £750m insurance scheme for live events announced last week has been criticised for not meeting the needs of commercial theatres.

West End producer Cameron Mackintosh told The Stage that the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme, a partnership between the Treasury and Lloyd’s that is designed to cover costs incurred in the event of cancellation due to government Covid restrictions, was “unsuited to the way the theatre works” and was too expensive.

“The prohibitively expensive insurance on offer explicitly excludes some of the protection the theatre desperately needs, namely cancellation of performances caused by illness or enforced isolation and the negative effects of the reintroduction of limited capacities, which would make most shows financially unviable” Mackintosh (pictured) said. “There is also no contribution on offer to help mitigate the tens of thousands of pounds spent on Covid protection that the big shows are each spending every week to keep artists, staff and audiences safe.”

Writing in the Daily Telegraph fellow West End producer Sonia Friedman said the move “was a welcome step” but that it was “not fit for purpose”.

“For those of us that produce work eight shows a week, 52 weeks a year, the risks are wider than the proposed policy covers. If indeed one could afford this insurance, it currently insures us against one eventuality and one eventuality only: a government or local authority mandate/guidance to shut down our theatres” she wrote.




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