The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 21 February 2023
Post Pandemic Blues - The pandemic has wiped billions of pounds from the night-time economy, including theatre, according to a new report. The research indicates that the night-time sector has had a greater struggle to recover to pre-pandemic income than the economy generally, despite a robust response to the challenges of Covid. The chair of the Night Time Industries Association, which carried out the report, said the government had "failed" the sector.
The report highlights how seriously jobs in hospitality, theatres, bars, restaurants and those that operate between 6pm and 6am have been hit over the past few years and that many in the sector are "surviving" but not "thriving".
Sacha Lord, chair of the NTIA and night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said: "The government has failed independent business operators and the cultural sector across the UK. It needs to do everything possible to protect these vitally important businesses that deliver way beyond economic impact, but are considered vital to social cohesion, nightlife tourism and the mental health and well-being of the UK."
The report is the second commissioned to help fully understand the economic contribution and significance of the night-time cultural economy (NTCE) to the UK economy.
Studio Boost - An £800m expansion of the studios used for the filming of the James Bond and Star Wars franchises has been approved. Pinewood Studios, near Iver Heath in Buckinghamshire, submitted plans for a 1.4m sq.ft expansion to build 21 new stages, a training hub and a publicly accessible nature reserve. Buckinghamshire Council has signed off the proposals.
Pinewood Group said the expansion would make it the "biggest studio complex in the world" and create 8,000 jobs. The group also said it would "inject £640m a year into the UK economy". "The approved expansion will directly address the continued growth in demand for production accommodation in the UK," it added.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said it was "fantastic to see Pinewood expanding its studios". "The UK's film and TV industries are booming and this £800m expansion is testament to the sector's global success," she said. "The investment will help create more jobs, develop new talent and enable even more high-quality productions to be made on our shores."
Royal Music - The coronation service of King Charles will have 12 newly-commissioned pieces of music, including a composition by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The King has personally chosen the music for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 6 May. Lord Lloyd-Webber said he wanted his new coronation anthem to reflect a "joyful occasion". A gospel choir will sing and there will be Greek Orthodox music in memory of the King's father, Prince Philip. The music will have a traditional tone with pieces from classical composers such as William Byrd, George Handel and Sir Edward Elgar.
Manchester Home - The BBC Radio 6 Music Festival is to permanently move to Greater Manchester, the broadcaster has revealed. The BBC said the area, which hosted the debut festival in 2014, would be its "permanent home" in the future. The 2023 event will be held across three days in March and see headline sets from Arlo Parks, Christine and the Queens, Loyle Carner. The festival debuted in Manchester in 2014 and has since been held in Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
On The Market - A performing arts centre in central Edinburgh has gone up for sale with a price tag of £3m. The Rose Theatre, which is situated on Rose Street in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, is currently owned and operated by Danish ballet dancer and choreographer Peter Schaufuss, and in recent years has been used as a venue during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Gilded Balloon and Captivate Theatre have presented shows there, and it has also been used by the Edinburgh-based MGA Academy of Performing Arts. It is one of two venues Schaufuss owns in the city, alongside Saint Stephens Church, where he presented a dance version of Hamlet starring Ian McKellen during the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe. The Grade B-listed venue comprises a 340-seat main hall, a 130-seat basement theatre, a 100-seat studio, a cabaret bar and an attic performance space – plus rehearsal spaces, dressing rooms and a self-contained flat.
(Jim Evans)
21 February 2023

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