The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 21 July 2020
Beyond The Fringe - Performers due to appear at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe and theatre shows whose runs were cut short due to COVID-19 feature on the line-up of a new festival conceived during the pandemic. The New Normal outdoor theatre festival has been put together in little over a week, following a call-out to producers for shows that could be ready to perform at short notice.
Its creation came after the government green-lit outdoor performances earlier this month, with shows on the programme of the New Normal beginning on 3 August and running until 31 August. It will take place in the walled courtyard of the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building in Wandsworth, south London, with a line-up of theatre, comedy, magic and music for socially distanced audiences.
The festival has been put together by director Sean Turner, who said: "I am absolutely over the moon to be able to offer an opportunity to all these incredible artists after such a tough few months. I’ve always wanted to use this gorgeous space for something like this so when Oliver Dowden said: ‘Go for it’ to open air theatres, I leapt at the chance.”
Clarity Appeal - Andrew Lloyd Webber has called on the government to provide "clarity and consistency" on the issue of reopening the UK's theatres. He said things were "hopeless" without a date on which theatres are allowed to reopen without social distancing.
Last week the government announced that indoor performances with socially distanced audiences can take place in England from the start of August. Yet Lloyd Webber said theatre was "not economically possible" on that basis. "The average play needs a 65% capacity and a musical needs more," he explained. The composer also expressed bafflement as to why people are allowed on a plane or inside a pub yet are not permitted to watch a live performance indoors. “All we want is clarity and consistency," he told the BBC.
Educating Rita - A touring production of Educating Rita that was halted when theatres closed in March is to be resurrected at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. It is being brought to the stage by David Pugh and Zoe Curnow, executive director of the Minack Theatre, and performances will run 18-29 August. The production stars Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and Jessica Johnson as Rita and is directed by Max Roberts.
Pugh said: “I am a producer, so I should produce. The idea of playing Educating Rita at the Minack Theatre is not only exciting but also a step towards re-opening all of our theatres.”
Local authorities have been accused of refusing to honour site bookings previously made by circuses, despite permission having been given by the government for big tops to reopen. Equity makes the accusation in a letter to chief executive of the Local Government Association, Mark Lloyd, which asks the body to "urgently" advise its member councils that site bookings should be honoured.
In The Ring - Circuses have been given the right to reopen alongside open-air performances, subject to regulations that have been determined following a pilot study by Gandeys Circus.
In the letter, general secretary Christine Payne writes: “Equity understands that some local authorities have refused to honour site bookings previously made by circus companies for 2020. Such refusals restrict our members’ legitimate right to work and may be a ’restriction of trade’ of the circus companies involved.
"For many children, a circus is their first experience of live entertainment and an enduring gateway to other forms of theatre. After months of being kept at home, children deserve a day out with their families and now that circuses can reopen Equity feels that local authorities should be encouraging big tops to be built up on parks and open spaces throughout England.”
Cease and Desist - Linkin Park have issued a cease and desist notice after Donald Trump retweeted a video featuring one of their songs. The video, posted by the US President's social media advisor, has been removed. The band tweeted: "Linkin Park did not and does not endorse Trump, nor authorize his organization to use any of our music.” The version of In The End in the video was a cover, performed by Tommee Profitt featuring Fleurie and Jung Youth. Adele, REM and Pharrell Williams have previously taken issue with Mr Trump using their music.
Final Issue - Music publication Q is set to fold after 34 years due to losses suffered because of the coronavirus. The magazine's editor Ted Kessler posted on Twitter on Monday: "I have some bad news about @QMagazine. The issue that comes out on 28 July will be our last. The pandemic did (it) for us and there was nothing more to it than that. I have attached our final cover and my editor's letter for context. On the plus side, we're all available for work."
Kessler also said he would like to apologise "profusely" for the magazine's closure. He added: "We've been a lean operation for all of my tenure, employing a variety of ways to help keep our head about water in an extremely challenging print market. COVID-19 wiped all that out."
(Jim Evans)
21 July 2020

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