The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 8 December 2020
On Stage - Many West End theatres have started reopening their doors for the first time since March. Among those reopening their doors for the first time since closing eight months ago are the Garrick Theatre, the Lyric Theatre and the Sondheim Theatre, which is home to the Les Mis concert. The development comes as Andrew Lloyd Webber revealed plans to open six of his West End theatres by the summer of 2021, in a move that is being seen as a major boost for the sector.
Nimax venues staged 12 performances over the weekend, including four performances of Six at the Lyric. Nimax chief Nica Burns had previously indicated her intention to begin a phased reopening of her six theatres earlier this year, and had already brought Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt to the Apollo, which opened in October shortly before the second lockdown in November. “It was a very emotional, very exciting weekend,” Burns said.
RAH Celebrates - Chic's Nile Rodgers will compose a ‘pop anthem’ to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Albert Hall. The musician joins an all-star line-up, including Eric Clapton, Patti Smith and Matthew Bourne, who will honour the venue next year. A birthday concert on 29 March will see the unveiling of a new work by composer David Arnold.
The celebration comes at one of the most precarious times in the venue's history, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The independent venue in Kensington, London, reported a loss of £18m, plus £6.5m in refunded ticket sales, earlier this year. Chief executive Craig Hassall told MPs the concert hall was in an "extremely perilous position, with no way of replacing our lost income". However, announcing the 2021 programme, Hassal said: "We are determined to host a full celebration of our 150th anniversary."
No Panto - Newcastle's Theatre Royal will be without its Christmas pantomime for the first time in 120 years after the show was postponed due to Covid-19. The city was placed in tier three when lockdown ended last week, so the venue was unable to open. As there is no timeframe for a move to tier two, the theatre said going ahead with Robin Hood was "not possible". Bosses postponed the show until April and described it as "a huge disappointment".
"It was a risk for everybody. Do we put it on or not? Do we start rehearsals and then have to stop? How will things be in January?" chief executive Philip Bernays said. "In the end we thought 'let's just play safe and move it to April'. I think audiences understand. They've been very supportive and I think they'll come and see it at Easter instead."
Changin’ Times - Bob Dylan has sold the rights to his entire song catalogue to Universal Music Group (UMG). The deal is one of the biggest acquisitions in Universal's history and means the company will collect all future income from the songs. It includes both the income Dylan currently receives as a songwriter and his control of each song's copyright. The terms of the deal were not made public, but it is thought to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Royal Visit - The Prince of Wales has said he is "praying" more entertainment venues can reopen soon, after a visit to the Soho Theatre to show support for London's arts scene. Prince Charles and Camilla also visited the 100 Club, where acts like the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols and Oasis have performed over the years.
(Jim Evans)
8 December 2020

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