The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 20 July 2021
Blunt Instrument - Future performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella have been cancelled, with the composer blaming the “blunt instrument that is the government’s isolation guidance”. Lloyd Webber said “Freedom Day has turned into closure day” as he announced the decision not to open the musical, which was due to have its press night on 19 July and a gala performance on 20 July. It follows the cancellation of two shows at the weekend, which Lloyd Webber said had been a "precautionary measure".
Producers have not yet indicated when Cinderella will return, however a spokeswoman for the show said: "It’s hard to see a route forward under current rules, but we will do everything else we can to come back as soon as possible."
Lloyd Webber said that, despite negative test results following one cast member testing positive, he had been forced to cancel the show. “Today, on this ‘Freedom Day’, I have been forced to take the heart-breaking decision not to open my Cinderella. With Cinderella, from the outset, we have employed a rigorous testing system for all the cast and backstage crew before they begin work. On Saturday, as part of this process, we identified one positive case in a member of our cast who has a cameo role in the show,” he said, adding that the two shows were cancelled on Saturday while further tests were carried out on everyone backstage, which were negative.
He concluded, “The impossible conditions created by the blunt instrument that is the government’s isolation guidance, mean that we cannot continue. We have been forced into a devastating decision which will affect the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of people and disappoint the thousands who have booked to see the show.” Dates for when the show will resume have yet to be announced.
Anarchy in The UK - A legal battle between three former members of the Sex Pistols has begun in the High Court in London. Guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook are suing frontman John Lydon to allow the use of their songs in a new Danny Boyle-directed TV series, Pistol.
The show, which is being made by Disney, is based on Jones's memoir. But Lydon - aka Johnny Rotten - has said he is not prepared to approve the necessary licences for the punk band's music unless ordered to by a court.
The six-part show, based on Jones's Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol, has reignited longstanding feuds among the surviving members of the band. Mark Cunningham QC, representing Lydon, said in written arguments that his client believes the book "depicts him in a hostile and unflattering light". Edmund Cullen, the lawyer representing Jones and Cook, called the relationship between the former bandmates "bitter and fractious", noting how there had been failed attempts to resolve their differences.
Self-Isolation - Equity is calling on the government to advance its planned rule changes around self-isolation, claiming that the current guidelines are having a “devastating and costly impact” on the performing arts. Arts workers in England who need to self-isolate should also receive fair pay – proportionate to their Equity-agreed wage – for the duration of the period, the union argues. In a statement released ahead of restrictions lifting across all sectors, Equity said plans to allow performing arts professionals to be exempt from self-isolation requirements if they come into contact with a positive Covid case must be brought forward to 19 July, instead of the proposed date of 16 August.
The rule change would apply to fully vaccinated people and would rely on an individual testing negative themselves. The union is also demanding the changes be applicable to anyone that has had at least one vaccination. Equity has accused the government of failing to “react in a responsible way” to the changing health situation by not recognising the impact of self-isolation policies on the sector.
(Jim Evans)
20 July 2021

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