SOLT, UK Theatre and 100 actors, writers, directors and leading creative figures call for government support in open letter

SOLT, UK Theatre and 100 actors, writers, directors and leading creative figures call for government support in open letter

The UK’s performing arts sector is one of the most powerful in the world, but sadly we are facing challenging times amid the Coronavirus crisis. Newly commissioned research released today from Oxford Economics projects a warning of 400,000 job losses and a £74bn loss in annual revenue across the arts industry in 2020.

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT), UK Theatre and nearly 100 actors, writers, directors and leading creatives figures have signed an open letter calling for government action to prevent the sector from crumbling.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, James McAvoy, Sharon D. Clarke and Tom Stoppard are just a few of the names backing the letter which was published in the Guardian today and can be read below.

Ben Elton, writer of The Upstart Crow has said: "Without immediate public intervention the lights will go out on British Theatre. This would be an unthinkable tragedy. Economically disasterous. Culturally cataclysmic."

Eight time Olivier Award winner Matthew Bourne commented: “Dance runs through the veins of both British culture and the arts sector as whole. Whether it be going to see a performance at Sadler’s Wells or your local theatre, participating in a dance class or watching Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday night. Dance has never been so popular. Help is needed now to guarantee every part of the dance world survives. As we climb out of this pandemic, we will need dance more than ever to enrich our lives and unite us again”.


An open letter to the prime minister Boris Johnson, chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and secretary of state for culture Oliver Dowden.

Dear sirs,

We are concerned that British theatre is on the brink of ruin.

Theatre is one of the UK’s most dazzling success stories. In all its forms, whether drama, musical theatre, opera or dance, British theatre is a world class cultural and economic force with productions filling venues from Broadway to Beijing.

The pandemic has brought theatre to its knees. Theatres do not have the money to operate viably with physical distancing. It is difficult to see venues opening before the end of the year.

Research by UK Theatre/Society of London Theatre suggests 70% of theatres will run out of money by the end of 2020. For many, it will be sooner. Four theatres have already gone in to administration and we are concerned that number will soon rise dramatically.

Culture and creativity is playing such an important part in helping the entire nation through these difficult times. It will play a crucial role as we emerge from the crisis.

It is difficult to underestimate the importance of theatre and storytelling to our national identity. More people see a theatre show each year than attend all league football matches in the whole of the UK.

The existential threat to theatre is also one which endangers the important work that is being done to create and attract more diverse workforces and audiences.

Without government investment, theatres will be forced to close and may never return. The threat of British theatre being destroyed by accident is as real as it is bleak. It would not only be a spiritual tragedy but an economic one.

We call on the government to urgently consider the submission from UK Theatre/SOLT calling for moves to:

Sustain the workforce, through the continuation and development of the Job Retention Scheme and a new package to support the army of freelancers and self-employed artists who create so much of our work.

Support theatre recovery, through adaptations to the existing theatre production tax relief scheme, support for businesses that supply theatres, and aid with making venues Covid-19 secure.

Safeguard the future of the theatre industry, through an Emergency Relief Fund and the creation of a new Cultural Investment Participation Scheme for the sector from government: a national pledge for culture.

Signed,

Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre

Bectu

Equity

Independent Theatre Council

Live Comedy Association

Musicians’ Union

 

2020 Olivier Award Nominees:

Adrian Scarborough (Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Leopolodstadt)

Alex Beard (CEO of the Royal Opera House: Best New Opera Production and Outstanding Achievement in Opera)

Alex Lacamoire (Best Original Score or New Orchestrations for Dear Evan Hansen)

Alistair Spalding CBE (Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells: Best New Dance Production and Outstanding Achievement In Dance)

Andrew Scott (Best Actor for Present Laughter)

Andy Nyman (Best Actor in a Musical for Fiddler On The Roof)

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (Outstanding Achievement in Dance for her performance in Mitten Wir Im Leben Sind/Bach6Cellosuiten)

Annilese Miskimmon (Artistic Director English National Opera: Best New Opera Production and Outstanding Achievement in Opera)

Arinzé Kene (Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Death Of A Salesman)

Audrey Brisson (Best Actress in a Musical for Amélie The Musical)

Barnaby Race (Best Original Score or New Orchestrations for Amélie The Musical)

Ben Elton (Playwright: Best Entertainment or Comedy Play for The Upstart Crow)

Ben Ringham (Best Sound Design for ANNA and Cyrano De Bergerac)

Benj Pasek (Best Original Score or New Orchestrations for Dear Evan Hansen)

Bill Sherman (Best Original Score or New Orchestrations for & Juliet)

Bob Crowley (Best Set Design for Mary Poppins)

Cassidy Janson (Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for & Juliet)

Charlie Stemp (Best Actor in a Musical for Mary Poppins)

Colin Morgan (Best Actor in a Supporting Role for All My Sons)

Damien Jalet (Best New Dance Production for Vessel by Damien Jalet & Kohei Nawa)

Emma Laxton (Best Sound Design for Emilia)

Fabian Aloise (Best Theatre Choreographer for Evita)

Francesca Moody (Producer: Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre for Baby Reindeer)

Gisèle Vienne (Outstanding Achievement in Dance for her choreography of Crowd, presented by Dance Umbrella)

Gregory Clarke (Best Sound Design for Rosmersholm)

Hayley Atwell (Best Actress for Rosmersholm)

Henry Lewis (Playwright: Best Entertainment or Comedy Play for Magic Goes Wrong)

Henry Shields (Playwright: Best Entertainment or Comedy Play for Magic Goes Wrong)

Howard Hudson (Best Lighting Design for & Juliet)

Hugh Durrant (Best Costume Design for Goldilocks And The Three Bears)

Ian Rickson (Best Director for Uncle Vanya)

Indhu Rubasingham (Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre: Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre for Blues In The Night)

Indira Varma (Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Present Laughter)

Israel Galván (Best New Dance Production for La Fiesta)

Jac Yarrow (Best Actor in a Musical for Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)

Jack Loxton (Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen)

Jamie Lloyd (Best Director for Cyrano De Bergerac)

James Dacre (Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate: Best Family Show for The Worst Witch / Director: Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre for Our Lady Of Kibeho)

James McAvoy (Best Actor for Cyrano De Bergerac)

Jason Carr (Best Original Score or New Orchestrations for Fiddler On The Roof)

Jennifer Weber (Best Theatre Choreographer for & Juliet)

Jo Hawes (Special Recognition Award)

Joanna Scotcher (Best Costume Design for Emilia)

Joel Horwood (Best New Play for The Ocean At The End Of The Lane)

Jonathan Lipman (Best Costume Design for Fiddler On The Roof)

Jonathan Sayer (Playwright: Best Entertainment or Comedy Play for Magic Goes Wrong)

Josie Walker (Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Ocean At The End Of The Lane)

Judy Kuhn (Best Actress in a Musical for Fiddler On The Roof)

Juliet Stevenson (Best Actress for The Doctor)

Justin Paul (Best Original Score or New Orchestrations for Dear Evan Hansen)

Kevin O’Hare (Director of The Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House – Best New Dance Production)

Lauren Ward (Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen)

Lucy Anderson (Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen)

Lucy Prebble (Best New Play for A Very Expensive Poison)

Marianne Elliott (Best Director for Death Of A Salesman)

Martyn Brabbins (Music Director English National Opera – Outstanding Achievement in Opera)

Matt Cole (Best Theatre Choreographer for Fiddler On The Roof)

Matthew Bourne (Best Theatre Choreographer for Mary Poppins)

Matthew Warchus (Director: Best Revival for Present Laughter)

Max Ringham (Best Sound Design for ANNA and Cyrano De Bergerac)

Michael Keegan Dolan (Best New Dance Production for MÁM by Michael Keegan-Dolan for Teaċ Daṁsa)

Michele Austin (Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Cyrano De Bergerac)

Miranda Cromwell (Best Director for Death Of A Salesman)

Miriam-Teak Lee (Best Actress in a Musical for & Juliet)

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (Playwright: Best Entertainment or Comedy Play for Emilia)

Neil Austin (Best Lighting Design for Rosmersholm)

Oli Mears (Director of Opera, Royal Opera House: Best New Opera Production and Outstanding Achievement in Opera)

Paloma Young (Best Costume Design for & Juliet)

Paule Constable (Best Lighting Design for The Ocean At The End Of The Lane)

Peter Roberts (Special Recognition Award)

Petula Clark (Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Mary Poppins)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Playwright: Best Entertainment or Comedy Play for Fleabag and Best Actress for Fleabag)

Reece Shearsmith (Best Actor in a Supporting Role for A Very Expensive Poison)

Richard Gadd (Writer/Performer: Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for Baby Reindeer)

Robert Icke (Best New Play for The Doctor)

Rupert Young (Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen)

Sam Tutty (Best Actor in a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen)

Sara Baras (Outstanding Achievement in Dance for for her choreography and performance in Ballet Flamenco – Sombras)

Sarah Preece (Executive Director of Mountview: Special Recognition Award)

Sharon D. Clarke (Best Actress for Death Of A Salesman)

Sophie Thompson (Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Present Laughter)

Soutra Gilmour (Best Set Design for & Juliet)

Stephen Jameson (Principal and Artistic Director of Mountview: Special Recognition Award)

Stephen Mear (Best Theatre Choreographer for Mary Poppins)

Stewart Clarke (Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Fiddler On The Roof)

Stuart Murphy (CEO English National Opera: Best New Opera Production and Outstanding Achievement in Opera)

Susie McKenna (Associate Director of Kiln Theatre: Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre for Blues In The Night)

Toby Jones (Best Actor for Uncle Vanya)

Tom Stoppard (Best New Play for Leopoldstadt)

Trevor Nunn (Best Director for Fiddler On The Roof)

Wendell Pierce (Best Actor for Death Of A Salesman)

Zizi Strallen (Best Actress in a Musical for Mary Poppins)

 

2019 UK Theatre Award Winners:

Emma Rice (Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre)

Esh Alladi (Best Supporting Performance for Hobson’s Choice, a Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester production)

Esther Richardson and Mandy Smith (Joint CEOs of Pilot Theatre – Excellence in Touring)

Hiran Abeysekera (Best Performance in a Play for Life Of Pi, a Sheffield Theatre Production)

Luke Sheppard (Director: Best Show for Children and Young People for Billionaire Boy The Musical, a Nuffield Southampton Theatres production in association with Belgrade Theatre, Coventry)

Nadia Fall (Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East: Best Play Revival for Equus)

Ned Bennett (Director: Best Play Revival for Equus)

Rebecca Trehearn (Best Performance in a Musical for Sweet Charity, a Nottingham Playhouse Production)

Richard Twyman (Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre: Best Play Revival for Equus)

Robert Hastie (Director: Best Musical Production for Standing At The Sky’s Edge, a Sheffield Theatres production)

Date Published: 25 June 2020
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