Oh yes, we will?

There’s no news yet on the future of this year’s Theatre Royal Christmas panto but, obviously,  without real support or detailed guidance from the government, the situation for ALL theatres – closed by the pandemic – gets more precarious day by day.

On that subject, l see that Bath MP, Wera Hobhouse, has coordinated a cross-party letter calling on the Government to make time available to discuss the Creative Sector in Parliament.

The letter was signed by 33 MPs, representing eight different political parties, and was addressed to the Commons Leader Jacob Rees Mogg asking him to make time for a debate about support for the creative sector.

The UK faces a “cultural catastrophe” if the £100bn industry is not supported in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the group of MPs warn.

Wera’s letter has brought together MPs from across the political spectrum. The campaign arises from growing alarm across the sector, where thousands are facing the prospect of months without paid work.

wera portrait
Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath

She said:

“As we emerge from lockdown our creative industries have been left in the dark. The arts and cultural sector support two million jobs and contribute over £100 billion a year to our economy.

“The Government must provide certainty and security for the hundreds of communities, spanning the UK, who rely on thriving cultural sectors to draw in visitors.

“There are many questions left to answer about the future of these organizations – from how to social distance onstage to when a museum can expect to operate at full capacity once more.’

Meanwhile the Director of the Theatre Royal, Danny Moar told Bath Newseum:

Although the government guidelines have stated that theatres can re-open from 4 July, the caveat that this is without live performances means that very little has changed for the Theatre Royal Bath, Ustinov Studio and Egg Theatre.

We continue to await further details from the government regarding timescales to go alongside the roadmap which was presented last week, and also what social distancing measures would be required for our audiences, performers and staff at each these stages.

As soon as these restrictions become more detailed, we have a number of plans on standby to be put into place to enable live performances to return to our stages, and for audiences to return to the auditorium at the earliest possible opportunity.

As a predominantly receiving house, we are also reliant on the touring productions, and while we may be able to reopen, if other venues around the country are affected, the touring productions many no longer be able to continue. 

We are continually working behind the scenes to ensure that once we have further clarification from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as to the conditions under which we can recommence performances, we will be able to do so as quickly and safely as possible.”

1 Comment

  1. I’m staggered at how few MPs have signed that letter! There are 650 MPs I believe, elected to Parliament. Even those not interested in the Arts have probably no idea how many subtle aspects of art make everyone’s lives bearable.

    I’m amazed that the Government might be happy to throw away 1 Billion pounds sterling, and accept a possible two million unemployed people, or more. Is one billion pounds so little in today’s currency?

    I’m a very tiny part of that one billion pounds, running very niche poetry courses that attract lots of overseas participants who contribute to the UK economy. I think many governments have under estimated the importance of how an incredible amount of tiny-to-small businesses make up a vital part of the economy. We all seem to be forgotten, and now our theatres even, too.

    A poetry friend of mine decided to see Hamilton, the play, in London, rather than New York, even though she could drive easily from the next US state to get there. It meant that both humble Chippenham, where I live, and London, both benefited financially from her, and her husband, as well as a quaint very filmic Wiltshire village!

    It was thanks to an American that London has this now!

    “Shakespeare’s Globe was founded by the actor and director Sam Wanamaker, built about 230 metres (750 ft) from the site of the original theatre and opened to the public in 1997, with a production of Henry V.”

    Do we now just throw all of this away, and for what? What are allowed instead of the multiple platforms of art? What also replaces and brings in ONE BILLION POUNDS STERLING too?


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