The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 28 July 2020
Emergency Support - Grassroots music venues in England will be the first cultural organisations to benefit from the government’s £1.57 billion package for the arts, with the most at-risk organisations receiving cash in the “next few weeks”. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed that the first tranche of money - totalling £2.25m - will fund emergency support grants for music venues at risk of imminent collapse.
It is the first news about how the billion-pound package will be spent, coming nearly three weeks after the initial announcement and following pressure from industry and unions to provide urgent clarification. A maximum of 150 venues that are at “severe risk of insolvency” are expected to benefit from the new funding, which will be distributed by Arts Council England and will provide grants of up to £80,000 to cover ongoing costs such as rent, bills and maintenance contracts.
Palladium Pilot - LW Theatres chief executive Rebecca Kane Burton has claimed a pilot event held at the London Palladium will enable theatres up and down the country to reopen their doors. At the test event, held to see how theatres can reopen safely, she said LW Theatres had employed the head of pharmacology at the University of Oxford, along with six other “erudite scientists”, to write a report looking at methods of getting theatres reopened, and which measures will enable that. She said LW Theatres had been through an 18-week process to see how venues can reopen.
“In this way, we can help theatres up and down this country to not have to go through that 18-week process that we have gone through,” she said.
Speaking at the Palladium event – which saw audiences seated to watch musical theatre actor Beverley Knight perform – with social distancing in place and in masks, she said, “What a relief to have this building back open and to open with Beverley Knight. Sure, this building is not anywhere near where it should be. I want to get this place back open, with no social distancing, but hopefully today has demonstrated we run a tight ship.”
She added: “We know how to manage things. We have all the right mitigations in place and people just need this back in their lives. Beverley needs it, the artists need it, the freelancers need it - the 290,000 people in our industry need to get back into work. We are not a risk – we know how to do things properly.”
Social Bubbles - London’s National Theatre is exploring the possibility of reopening its spaces while social distancing restrictions remain in place, in a move that would see performances return to the theatre for the first time since March. A statement from the organisation said it believed "theatre can and should be performed in this new world", and is investigating whether it can reconfigure its theatre spaces to allow audiences to attend in social bubbles.
Addressing the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, the NT statement added: "Subject to support, we can continue to perform our functions while conforming to social distancing rules."
In The Ring - Norwich Theatre has announced a six-week programme of live performance to take place in a temporary big top venue in partnership with Lost in Translation Circus. The comedy, music, circus and cabaret programme, called Interlude, will run from 10 August to 20 September in the temporary venue adjacent to the theatre.
Interlude will open with comedian Karl Minns and include the transfer of shows originally intended for the Playhouse summer season, including Mark Watson, Arabella Weir, Round the Horne, Ben Hart and Graffiti Classics. The six week programme will also feature cabaret and circus performances from Lost in Translation Circus with international guests.
The big-top’s capacity of 750 has been reduced by two-thirds and the audience will be seated in bubbles to comply with social distancing guidelines. Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal and Playhouse, said: "After a prolonged period of closure, we are delighted to be able to bring live performance back to Norwich and to be working together with some of the city’s other much-loved cultural organisations to do so.
“As we all continue to live with COVID-19, the gradual easing of restrictions sees the return of many hugely valued areas of life, from eating-out to sport to shopping. The return to attending live performance still feels out-of-reach but, through Interlude, we hope to bridge that gap in a unique and, most importantly, COVID-secure way that not only delights our regular audiences but sees our city centre come alive over the summer, generating important visitors and footfall for the benefit of the whole economy."
Farewell - Mick Fleetwood has led tributes to co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green who died on Sunday. Fleetwood said they had "trail blazed one hell of a musical road for so many to enjoy". He added, "For me, and every past and present member of Fleetwood Mac, losing Peter Green is monumental. No-one has ever stepped into the ranks of Fleetwood Mac without a reverence for Peter Green and his talent, and to the fact that music should shine bright and always be delivered with uncompromising passion.”
(Jim Evans)
28 July 2020

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