NEWS: Government announces outdoor performances can begin this week

July 9, 2020
NEWS: Government announces outdoor performances can begin this week

The Government has announced that outdoor performances can begin on 11th July.

Outdoor performances can resume from Saturday with social distancing in place, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said.

More guidelines to follow, but this is great news for venues like the Minack in Cornwall (pictured).

Mr Dowden has also stated he will be be testing indoor performances imminently, with trials with the London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s and at Butlin’s to test guidelines for indoor productions during the ongoing pandemic.

Jon Morgan, director of Theatres Trust, has released this statement:

“Alongside the very welcome and much-needed package of government support for the culture sector announced earlier this week, the publication of the performing arts guidance today will give a further degree of clarity to theatres. The publication of details for Stage 3 will allow theatres to move to outdoor performances from 11 July. However, it is disappointing that the guidelines have been published without a ‘not before’ date for Stage 4 and the all-important Stage 5 – the point when theatres will be able to open fully and welcome back audiences without social distancing. For the majority, it means continued delay and uncertainty as to when they will be able to reopen fully and for some, this delay may mean they never reopen.

We appreciate the difficulty in setting a date for Stage 5 as it will always be conditional on circumstances such as the R rate remaining low, further safety tests being conducted and the safety of staff, creatives and audiences must be a priority. But without even an indicative date it is difficult for theatres to plan ahead – and for many theatres this uncertainty will be devastating.

With the furlough scheme ending in October, many theatres will be left in a precarious situation and there is the risk of more theatres being forced to make redundancies or closing permanently. The performing arts will be the last sector to be able to reopen viably and it is therefore critical that the government’s rescue package prioritises theatres across the UK who will be most affected by the delayed reopening.”

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