As much of the UK entertainment and hospitality industries open to customers from 4 July, theatres remain closed, unable to stage live performances. From early on in lockdown, the design community have been uncomfortably aware of the negative visual imagery and sadness around closed buildings. Theatres which are usually teeming with life feel stark and bleak, some even shut away behind hazard tape to prevent them inadvertently being places of gathering. On Friday 3 July, in collaboration with theatres across the UK, #scenechange will launch #MissingLiveTheatre and wrap theatre buildings in a positive message of hope and visibility to the industry.
Beginning with the National Theatre, #scenechange will, in conjunction with theatre staff, wrap theatres with pink barrier tape reading ‘Missing Live Theatre’. The baton will then be passed from the National Theatre to Royal Exchange Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Lyric Belfast and Sherman Theatre across the day on Friday, and throughout the West End on the Saturday. The week beginning 6 July will see further theatres nationwide joining #MissingLiveTheatre, with over 50 venues already committed including the RSC, Sadler’s Wells, Theatr Clwyd, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Sheffield Theatres, Ambassador Theatre Group, amongst many others.
#scenechange said today, “As businesses begin to reopen, the doors of theatres remain firmly shut, whilst we navigate a way back to live performance. Today as we launch #MissingLiveTheatre, we want to bring joy and colour to theatres across the UK and Ireland, whilst highlighting the ongoing impact of Covid-19, and what we as an industry and local communities are missing.”
#scenechange began as a small email exchange ‘Dialogue in Strange Times’ between a group of set & costume designers. Now it is a wide community of designers covering the breadth of the discipline and growing to over 1000 members, promoting ways of coming together in conversation and action in support of theatre.
For theatres who wish to join in the #missinglivetheatre campaign, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Working with production manager Anna Fox, #scenechange will provide risk assessment and technical support, as well as linking theatres up with local designers for on site installation. The tape will remain in place for up to one week before being removed and reused by #scenechange to envelop another theatre.
Photo by Manuel Harlen