theatre seats

Roadmap for theatre is meaningless without ‘rescue offer’

The WGGB is calling on Government to back up its proposed “roadmap” for the reopening of theatres with an “emergency subsidy”.

On 25 June 2020, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden outlined a five-stage roadmap to the Cultural Renewal taskforce. He said: “I know the public wants its theatres open, our brilliant performers want to go back to work, and we will do all we can to get them fully back up and running. Our roadmap provides a clear pathway back.”

The five stages of the roadmap are:

  • Rehearsal and training (no audiences and adhering to social distancing guidelines)
  • Performances for broadcast and recording purposes (adhering to social distancing guidelines)
  • Performances outdoors with an audience plus pilots for indoor performances with a limited distance audience
  • Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (but with a limited distanced audience indoors)
  • Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

Responding to the announcement, however, WGGB General Secretary Ellie Peers said: “Without any indication of when the later phases of the plan might begin, it is hard to see how this takes the creative workforce any further forward. After all the uncertainty of the past few months, what we need now is clarity.

“Writers need immediate reassurance that any phased reopening will be backed up with a financial rescue package from Government, including the extension and expansion of the CJRT and SEISS schemes and a new commission fund to protect new writing.”

WGGB Theatre Committee Co-Chairs Vanessa Brooks and Richard Pinner said: “UK theatre is the seedbed for our world-class media industries. The best film and TV writing talent often cuts its teeth on our regional and national stages. Direct emergency subsidy is needed now to save tomorrow’s wider creative industries – worth £1.3 billion to the economy and priceless to the cultural life of the nation.”