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Practicalities of re-opening in Autumn 2020 - or thereafter?

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Received from ROH yesterday:

 

Friends' Newsletter: An Update on Performances

Kevin O’Hare shared some exciting news during this weekend's Live from Covent Garden. Dancers of The Royal Ballet will be invited to return to the building on a voluntary basis from 14 July to train and rehearse in a socially distanced capacity.   

However, due to the ongoing closure of theatres across the UK, we are not able to perform our originally planned programme. We will make announcements in due course about our exciting artistic plans for the Autumn in the context of Government advice on social distancing for performers and audiences. All artists have been contacted.

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Oh yes, I forgot to post the bit about July 14th on Saturday.

 

The poor people with responsibility for trying to organise something while goalposts are constantly shifting.  At least the ballet company, being so much more "self-contained" than the opera, can probably be a bit more flexible, availability of conductors etc. permitting, but I suspect they'll have to be in order to fit in around the scheduled opera dates.  It must be a nightmare.

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ENB has just sent out an email with a very good survey regarding opportunities for the short term performing future.  It clearly focuses on (a) social distancing, (b) online preferences and (c) outdoor venues.  I really thought it a quality product in terms of its construct.  Certainly is was wisely considerate.  It was created in association with a company called Indigo.  I would encourage anyone who receives it to fill it out.  I would put a link here but fear it may not be entirely correct to do so.  

 

"Your responses are completely anonymous, and will be used to inform our own planning, as well as being added to responses from all over the UK to help produce a national picture. Indigo will only have access to your responses for analysis purposes, and will not be able to see any of your personal information."

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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I see that the National Gallery re-opens on 8th July and the Wallace Collection on the 15th, both requiring pre-booked tickets (free), so it is good news that our cultural landscape is starting to re-open, albeit slowly. With the news regarding RB dancers returning next month there is some (small) positivity there as well.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Bruce Wall said:

ENB has just sent out an email with a very good survey regarding opportunities for the short term performing future.  It clearly focuses on (a) social distancing, (b) online preferences and (c) outdoor venues.  I really thought it a quality product in terms of its construct. 

 

Just in case ENB supporters who, like me, have not received a request to participate are wondering why not.............

 

The survey was sent out to a random selection from ENB's e-list and is part of a national one that many art organisations are taking part in in order to understand what people are thinking in terms of attending live events in the coming months.

 

 

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Ah.  Good job I didn't share the link, then!  It's not my idea of a "short" survey, I must say, but I found it very comprehensive.

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Know some people really want to help ... and we talk so much about dancers - but not so much about key production and front of house staff.  This seems a good offer to be able to help Production staff for people 'in the performing arts' - especially given McKellen's generosity .... 

 

Ian McKellen will match donations from the public of up to £40,000 as part of a new fundraising campaign to help backstage and front-of-house workers in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The Theatrical Guild, a charity which supports offstage workers, has launched the campaign on the Good Exchange online platform.

 

 

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Here in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, we entered “phase 3” of reopening today - the first phase to mention theatres & other entertainment venues! Theatres here are allowed to reopen “at 50% capacity or 1000 persons (whichever is less).” Mind you that this is just Virginia - not DC proper - so the Kennedy Center is not in this guidance. Neither does it include the Maryland suburbs of DC. Hey, at least it’s progress!

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Some news ... germane to this thread's topic ... Five items from five different articles all from The Stage (won't give links because of the Paywall - as capybara kindly noted) ... 

 

Item One - One Article

 

The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester has announced it could have to make up to 65% of its permanent staff redundant, claiming it has been left with no other choice but to scale back the organisation.

 

The theatre said the "monumental" impact of Covid-19 on its business means it has now entered into redundancy consultations with its workforce in order to survive the crisis.

 

Item Two - A different Article

 

A series of peaceful protests are being planned around the UK to highlight the lack of government support for the arts industry during the pandemic.

 

The events are being organised by Creative Performance Protest, an initiative to put pressure on the government for support, with the protests planned for July 11.

 

Organisers are calling on performers, theatre workers and supporters to stand outside their local venues, which will have small performance areas outside them.

 

Item Three - Yet another article ... 

 

Arts Council England is reopening its National Lottery Project Grants funding programme, which is currently suspended due to Covid-19.

 

The programme will reopen on July 22 with a budget of £59.8 million available until April 2021.  [In terms of general need this is actually a very small amount of money.  This won't stop venues closing - or cutting staff certainly.]

 

National Lottery Project Grants can be used directly for creating or delivering cultural activity, as well as for research and development.

 

Item Four - And a further - separate - article ... 

 

[SheilaC made reference to this in another strand ... but I copy this here to give the PM's exact quotation.]

 

.... Responding to Conservative MP Jason McCarthy, who called for more support for the UK’s performers and for Arts Council England’s funds to be replenished by the government, Johnson said: “The house is speaking with pretty much one voice this morning, and I totally share people’s sense of urgency about wanting to get our wonderful creative, cultural and theatrical sectors open as fast as we can, but the house will also remember that what we’re trying to do now involves striking a balance, and it is very very important as we open up the economy that we do not go too far and risk a second spike and further outbreaks.  As we open the theatre, which we will, we want to make sure that we do it in a Covid-compliant and Covid-secure way.”

 

Meanwhile later ... in answer to another MP .... 

 

Johnson replied: “Yes, Mr speaker, the show must go on. I know the power of the theatres, of London’s West End, the entire cultural industries in London, not just as a magnet for our country but the sheer revenues they deliver.  We want you going as fast as we possibly can, and we want to get life for theatres and theatregoers to get back to normal as fast as we possibly can, but to do that we have to defeat this disease and that is what this government is engaged in." ....  

 

Item Five - A final article of interest to quote from 

 

Research is being carried out to help small and mid-sized theatre companies monetise online work and ensure actors get paid.

The research, conducted by the University of Exeter, will investigate whether audiences are willing to pay for remote performances, and how work can be taken online and paid for ... 

 

The research, by Pascale Aebischer and Rachael Nicholas from the University of Exeter, is being carried out in partnership with Creation Theatre in Oxford, and is funded by UK Research and Innovation.

 

Will stop here ... There is more 

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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A few more notes from The Stage ..

 

1. Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture has pushed its start date until May 2021, with organisers pledging to reimagine the programme in response to the challenges of the coronavirus crisis.  The city had been due to begin its tenure as UK City of Culture at the start of 2021, but will now kick off its programme from May.  Events will then take place over the following 12 months.

 

2.  Nuffield Southampton Theatres is to close permanently - making 86 staff redundant - after failing to secure a potential buyer to meet conditions set by stakeholders. The theatre company went into administration in May, after falling into financial difficulty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

3.  Staff working for the Pavilion and Connaught theatres in Worthing are facing redundancy, as the trust behind them warns its venues may never reopen without action now.  Worthing Theatres and Museum said it was looking at having to make 19 of its 150 staff redundant, with a further 29 employees facing a temporary reduction in salary and working hours. It said the roles affected spanned all departments, but were largely public facing ones.

 

 

 

 

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Stage feature ...

 

1.   Venues across the UK from the National Theatre to Manchester’s Royal Exchange will be wrapped in pink tape reading “missing live theatre” as part of a campaign to “bring joy and colour” to the buildings ... Beginning on July 3, the campaign will start with the National Theatre being wrapped in pink tape, followed by Manchester Royal Exchange, Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre, Lyric Belfast and Sherman Theatre in Cardiff through the day.  The campaign will continue through the West End on Saturday.

 

I should note that the Wells is included in this endeavour ... 

 

2.  Almost 3,000 theatre jobs are at risk under current redundancy plans in the sector, which has been described by BECTU as "cultural vandalism beyond repair".  The entertainment union told The Stage the figure is based on official notifications it has received from employers currently carrying out redundancy consultations with staff.

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall

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The Teatro Real in Madrid has started live performances of La Traviata.  Interesting photo of the stage and pit arrangements:

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/b1c94984-bc9f-11ea-84a6-a03a9956ea0a?shareToken=dd9637b7a4dfa0a732c1215522dfe8bf

 

Edited to add: Further to Bruce's quotations from The Stage, I see that it is in trouble itself:

 

https://twitter.com/TheStage/status/1278977276646916096?s=20

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45 minutes ago, Ian Macmillan said:

 

Edited to add: Further to Bruce's quotations from The Stage, I see that it is in trouble itself:

 

 

Not surprised .... The theatrical support industry will I think be hit even harder!!  

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Whilst ailing itself The Stage reports:-

 

1. All front-of-house casual workers at the National Theatre have been made redundant, resulting in the loss of 250 jobs.  The move comes after union BECTU warned today that the number of jobs lost in the sector is currently 3,000 and rising.

 

2,  Outdoor theatres have called on the government to allow them to reopen, labelling it “ludicrous” that they cannot operate when pub gardens are due to reopen tomorrow.  Venues including the Minack Theatre in Cornwall and Brighton Open Air Theatre have said they are ready to safely welcome back audiences, and have called on the government to give them the green light to do so.

 

3.  The Scottish government has announced a £10 million dedicated fund for performing arts venues, staff and freelancers, as it calls for more support on a UK level.  Called the Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund, it will be administered by Creative Scotland and made available to both its regularly funded organisations [RFOs] and to non-RFOs.

 

 

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Quite agree that outdoor theatres might need to be an exception.

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