The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 11 August 2020
Pantos Postponed - Four of London’s biggest pantomimes have become the latest major productions to postpone their 2020 performances amid ongoing uncertainty from government about reopening.
The Hackney Empire’s annual show will not take place this year, neither will pantomimes at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, which will not be staging a pantomime for the first time in nearly 70 years. Last year, the four pantomimes attracted audiences of more than 145,000 and typically employ over 280 freelancers.
A joint statement from the four venues said: "The production process for such a large-scale show as panto would have begun at the start of August. Without an announced date from the government on when theatre performances can resume without social distancing, making a panto economically viable, these theatres have now had to take the hard decision to postpone to 2021."
High Notes - A new production of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years is to be staged at the open-air Minack Theatre in Cornwall. It will be directed by Omar F Okai and runs from 15-19 September. Okai said: “We need to start looking to the future of theatre and I am so happy to be directing and working with a brilliant team on creating a fresh new look at The Last Five Years and bringing it to the Minack Theatre. Live theatre will be back and this is the start.”
Minack director Zoë Curnow said: “We were really keen to have a musical in our amended 2020 programme and really look forward to welcoming them all to the Cornish cliffs."
Public Support - Owners of an under-threat pub hope to reopen as a live music venue after crowdfunding raised more than £33,000. The Horn in St Albans, which normally hosts about 80 acts per month, is due to reopen as a pub later this month, with gigs to resume at a later date. Owner Adrian Bell he said he was "overwhelmed" by the public's support. Singer Paul Young, who has played at the venue and backed the appeal, said: "As soon as it's viable, people should go along and show their support."
Grassroots - Elbow have agreed to perform a one-off gig in Manchester to help raise money for grassroots music venues. Front man Guy Garvey said he was "very proud to be involved" in the Passport: Back To Our Roots initiative. Everything Everything, Public Service Broadcasting and The Slow Readers Club will also give concerts once gigs are permitted with no social distancing. Tickets to the concerts can be won via a prize draw that opens on 17 August and runs for two weeks. Elbow will perform at Night & Day Cafe in Manchester, while Public Service Broadcasting will play at The Amersham Arms in New Cross, south-east London.
"This is a simple way of looking after the very roots of British music and will result in some powerful, joyous shows when we can at last see each other again," said Garvey. The Music Venue Trust (MVT) will receive 80% of the money raised. The remaining 20% will go to the Inner City Music charity, which operates not-for-profit Manchester venue Band on the Wall.
Farewell - Tributes have been paid to Martin Birch, the music producer known for his work with such bands as Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. "Martin was a huge part of my life," tweeted Whitesnake's David Coverdale. Birch, who died on Sunday aged 71, started out in the late 1960s as an engineer for Fleetwood Mac and others. He retired in 1992 after producing Fear of the Dark, the last of the 10 Iron Maiden records on which he worked.
(Jim Evans)
11 August 2020

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