General News

media-orchestratoruiXytech interface provides workflow simplicity
Wednesday, 26 August 2020

UK - Resource management software provider Xytech continues to innovate its MediaPulse resource management system, this time with the release of a new, fully featured graphical user interface for the Media Orchestrator.
Seamlessly incorporated to the workflow software, the new graphical UI merges asset management, operations and resource management, allowing game-changing media services companies to monitor the people, facilities or equipment needed to complete a given task.
“All too often, companies are adversely effected by a lack of efficiency in their workflows, and this can have a direct impact on profit margins,” said Greg Dolan, Xytech CCO. “The media software industry demands intelligent solutions with the ability to dynamically adapt to customers’ constantly evolving needs. With offices in Los Angeles, London, France, Germany, Belgium, Canada and China, Xytech is uniquely positioned to meet customers at their point of need with unmatched technical service. Also, with regular, yearly upgrades and quarterly updates to the MediaPulse platform, we are not leaning on decades-old software like our competitors.”
The new graphical UI takes the complication out of the workflow process by offering users an easily digestible and totally intuitive interface. Users can move an entire block of functionality instead of choosing from a menu item. A user can grab a visual block, plot out the appropriate steps and link it graphically through Visio.
The new UI also allows users to define, configure and monitor any media service workflow while

The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Risk Research - Scientists in Germany held three pop concerts in a single day to investigate the risks posed by mass indoor events during the pandemic. About 1,500 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 50 - only a third of the expected number - took part. But the head of the study, which was carried out in Leipzig by Halle University, said he was "very satisfied" with how the event unfolded. Singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko agreed to perform at all three successive gigs.
The concert study, called Restart-19, was created "to investigate the conditions under which such events can be carried out despite the pandemic", researchers said. The first of Saturday's three concerts aimed to simulate an event before the pandemic, with no safety measures in place. The second involved greater hygiene and some social distancing, while the third involved half the numbers and each person standing 1.5m apart. All participants were tested for Covid-19 before taking part, and given face masks and tracking devices to measure their distancing. Researchers reportedly also used fluorescent disinfectants to track which surfaces audience members touched the most.
"The data collection is going very well, so we have good quality data, the mood is great and we are extremely satisfied with the discipline in wearing masks and using disinfectant," lead researcher Dr Stefan Moritz said.
Emergency Funding - Small music venues in England have welcomed the announcement of a further £1.1m emergency government funding. Last month, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden rolled out his pla

 
 
Ben Erwin appointed CEO at PSAV
Tuesday, 25 August 2020

USA - PSAV has announced that Ben Erwin has been named chief executive officer, effective immediately, and will maintain his current title as president. In his new role, Erwin will be responsible for driving the strategic direction of the company and overseeing the execution of its business plan.
Says the company, “This leadership transition occurs as PSAV continues to take a leading role in helping its customers adjust to the current environment of the meeting and events industry. Erwin succeeds Mike Mcllwain, who has served as CEO since 2011.”
“I am honoured to assume the role of CEO during this pivotal time,” Erwin said. “We are focused on positioning PSAV for a return to growth and long-term success as we continue to provide creative solutions to our customers and venue partners.”
Erwin continued, “On behalf of the entire team, I want to thank Mike for all he has done for PSAV during his tenure and, personally, for his mentorship and guidance to help me prepare for this role. His impact will continue to be felt by our organization long after his formal departure from the business.”
“Ben has been an important partner in supporting PSAV’s growth over the last five years, and he has the right combination of leadership skills and financial and operational acumen to guide the company well into the future,” Mcllwain added. “Along with our full board, and Blackstone as our owners, I am confident in his ability to step seamlessly into the CEO role and build on our more than 80-year history of helping to bring unforgettable

 
joe-bridgeSong sale proceeds aid live event charities
Friday, 21 August 2020

UK - Singer-songwriter Joe Bygraves has produced the single, Stand As One in support of charities helping the live entertainment and events industry. Its official release on Spotify, iTunes and all streaming services is today, 21 August at 12.00pm.
The 24-year-old from Bedfordshire has written and performed the song, which aims to reach out to people struggling with issues surrounding mental health during and looking past the COVID-19 pandemic, especially focusing on the behind-the-scenes professionals who, in any other year, would be pulling together to create the infrastructure for world-class live performances.
Joe was challenged to write the song by the organisers of the #MakeItBlue campaign started by the UK the events and entertainment industry to support colleagues in need, and to promote public mental health awareness through arts, culture and entertainment projects.
#MakeItBlue co-founder Gary White said: “We asked Joe for a track that would resonate with our collective experience and send out a message of hope and support. Joe is donating 25 per cent of its proceeds to MAKEITBLUE CIC for charitable use in the events industry.”
For Stand As One, Joe is backed by a collective of pedigree musicians, including Tom McRae (background vocal arrangements), Richard Hammond (bass), Simon Johnson (guitars and backing vocals) and Mark Pusey (drums and percussion). Piano and background vocals are by Olli Cunningham, who also produced and mixed the song. It was mastered at Abbey Road Studios London by Simon Gibson.
The firs

 
 
wemakeeventsredalertrgbUS plans #WeMakeEvents day of action for 1 Sept
Thursday, 20 August 2020

USA - Inspired by efforts in the UK, mainland Europe and South Africa, the US live events industry is set to host its own #WeMakeEvents ‘Red Alert’ day of action on 1 September.
Using the hashtags #WeMakeEvents #RedAlertRESTART and #ExtendPUA to gain momentum, the move represents a major call to action on Tuesday, 1 September, imploring the US Congress to pass the RESTART Act (S.3814) as quickly as possible, offering economic relief to America’s live events industry, which has been shuttered since March, 2020, putting millions of people out of work. Additionally, the movement is to support ExtendPUA.org in their efforts towards continuation and extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to provide relief to those without work due to COVID-19.
#WeMakeEvents North American director, Brad Nelms comments: "The group has managed to gather incredible support for this important movement, signing on more than 30 regional directors to lead the initiative in markets nationally. This team have been so fired up and already have commitments from hundreds of incredible venues and iconic locations nationally who will show support."
On 1 September buildings, structures, and residences across the US will be lit in red from 9pm-12am (local time in each market) as the event rolls across North America. The goal to raise public awareness that the live events industry is on ‘Red Alert’ for its very survival, and to create congressional pressure to act now.
#BeAnArtsHero, a grassroots coalition of arts and cultural workers, reports: "The Arts &

 
anybrandfacecoveringBranded face coverings geared for live sector
Wednesday, 19 August 2020

UK - AnyBrand is introducing face coverings treated with HeiQ Viroblock technology, a “tested and proven COVID-19 barrier” that counteracts the airborne transmission of the virus.
HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 Swiss technology has been tested to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in the laboratory and the ISO-tested 18184, which is added to the fabric during the final stage of the textile manufacturing process.
AnyBrand founder Colin Graham states: “The new every-day problems we face need high tech and sustainable solutions. Partnering with HeiQ allows us to do this with a unique and invaluable edge.
“We don’t have the cure all solution, but we do have a ‘silver bullet’ that could make the all-important difference to minimise the social distancing requirement that has decimated the live events sector.
“We believe our brandable face coverings present live events with a better chance of accelerating the reopening of its doors with higher capacity audiences, when used alongside other COVID-19 safety measures.”
Carlo Centonze, CEO of HeiQ Group, said: “We are pleased to partner with AnyBrand in the UK to develop life-saving products and applications for our technology.”
The first face coverings have arrived in the UK this week and AnyBrand is geared up to deliver large quantities of a variety of specifically branded, reusable face coverings within weeks.

 
 
The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Financial Guidance - Guidance has been published on how arts organisations can apply for the government’s £270m repayable finance scheme. The repayable finance was announced as part of the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, which also includes £622m of grants.
Theatres can either apply for grants of up to £3m or for loans for larger amounts. With the repayable finance package, which is geared towards larger organisations, the government aims to "stabilise cultural organisations until they can return to sustainable operations". Applications will be "assessed against rigorous cultural and economic criteria" including efficiencies made to date and ongoing viability for the future.
Organisations will also be asked to demonstrate national or international significance and outline opportunities to engage local communities through education and outreach. Arts Council England will review applications, with input from other bodies including the British Film Institute, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Decisions will be taken by the independent Culture Recovery Board.
Applications will open on 21 August, with a deadline of 9 September. Arts Council England aims to notify applicants of the outcome of their application in the week beginning October 19, and says that funding is anticipated to reach organisations by this December.
Employment Crisis - Job opportunities in the arts have disappeared faster than any other sector of the UK economy as a result of the pandemic, new data has revealed, with vacancies dr

 
howell-binkley-obituary-1000x667-1In Memoriam: Howell Binkley
Tuesday, 18 August 2020

USA - LSi is sad to report that Howell Binkley, one of the most distinguished theatre/dance lighting designers of his generation, died on Friday 14th August in Jacksonville, North Carolina, of lung cancer. He was 64. "He was just a special spirit," his widow, Joyce Storey, told the Winston-Salem Journal. "He was adored by so many and will be missed by all."
According to the Journal, Binkley, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, attended Atkins High School, where he was first drawn to theatre. He worked at the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem and graduated from Reynolds High School in 1974. After attending East Carolina University, he moved to New York in 1978, and began working with the Acting Company and Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Early on, he established himself in the dance world, working with the Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, MoMix, Peter Pucci Plus. Hubbard Street Dance, and American Ballet Theatre. Most famously, he was the cofounder and resident lighting designer for Parsons Dance, creating 85 original pieces for that company.
Binkley worked extensively in regional theatres, including the Goodman Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Alley Theatre, Guthrie Theater, McCarter Theatre, Hartford Stage, Signature Theatre, The Old Globe, and Shakespeare Theatre Company. He also designed six entries in the Kennedy Center’s Sondheim Celebration.
He made a notable Broadway debut in 1993 with Kiss of the Spider Woman; other productions included: How to Succeed in Busi

 
 
showforces-crew-adopt-covid-19-safe-working-practisesShowforce and tess prepare crewing guidelines
Wednesday, 12 August 2020

UK - With government guidance now emerging for the events industry, Showforce has partnered with industry safety specialist The Event Safety Shop (tess) to develop COVID-19 protocols and risk assessments specifically for the global crewing business.
The new working practices have been written in-conjunction with Showforce’s NEBOSH qualified health, safety and training manager, Laurence Jones and the highly experienced team at tess. They are designed to minimise the risk of infection and ensure the safety of Showforce’s crew, clients and fellow contractors in the working environment, wherever practicably possible.
The protocols and risk assessments consider travel to and from site, additional sanitisation procedures, dedicated welfare areas for crew, social distancing, temperature checks for all crew before commencing work and the development of work bubbles or buddies. All Showforce crew will undergo rigorous in-house training in the practises before arriving onsite and in line with Showforce’s existing exemplary safety record. The policies ensure that its’ crew are well trained and ready to work, along with an additional layer of support and assurance for clients.
Operations director, Chris Martelly comments: “As we emerge from lockdown and take tentative steps back to work, the safety of our crews, clients and fellow industry suppliers is paramount. Whilst this has always been the case, the ‘new normal’ requires considerations and policies dedicated to COVID-19 safe working practises. Partnering with a company of tess’ calibre an

 
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 for

 
 
robe-tse-the-next-rotblaues-designseparatorTSE trainee project highlights new talent
Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Germany - Berlin-based full service live event and technical production specialist TSE AG has been utilising the unexpected downtime of the pandemic in a number of constructive ways including professional development and launching a new exercise for all their trainee staff and apprentices called The Next.
This is designed to encourage their budding new talent in the fields of event management, production and organisation, lighting, visual, production and audio design to shine through.
The trainees themselves initiated the idea of setting up and creating a lighting, sound, and visual show environment for use as a series of dynamic live streams and recordings.
TSE’s available technologies had to be used inventively, and the set up was built in their warehouse in Berlin’s lively Neukölln area, for which the trainees used some of the large stock of Robe moving lights, including 14 Pointes, two MegaPointes and eight Spiiders.
The installation was in place for 10 days and utilised by a succession of local artists, bands and DJs who either livestreamed shows or recorded videos for later broadcast or use as promotional collateral.
All the current social distancing requirements and hygiene regulations were strictly implemented ensuring that it was a completely COVID-19 compliant space.
The whole project was imagined, planned, and realised by 13 TSE trainees and apprentices working alongside 20 technicians and coordinated by Marcel Kuch, supervising project manager for TSE AG and Henning Grunwald, trainee project manager for TS

 
lcaLights Camera Action re-locates
Thursday, 6 August 2020

UK - Lights Camera Action (LCA) has re-located to new premises in High Wycombe and will be trading as normal from this location with its newly-built offices and demo area.
Stock levels on all the products will be maintained at their current levels so the fast turnarounds you have been used to from LCA will absolutely continue, says the company.
“If getting out to our new location is a little harder for you don't worry we have access to a greater number of delivery vans or we can happily ‘meet you halfway’ as needed.”
The new address is: Centauri House, Hillbottom Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP12 4HQ UK (+44 (0)8833 7600).

 
 
The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Rebuilding Trust - Industry leaders are developing a quality mark to be displayed in theatres and on other promotional materials, aimed at rebuilding trust among theatregoers. It is one of a number of measures being planned to regain the confidence of theatregoers when venues are able to reopen. Staggered start times for shows are also being considered, as well as plans to work with Transport for London on helping audiences get to theatres.
The plans are being drawn up by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, which have revealed they will be creating a quality assurance mark – which it is hoped will be an official icon – to “encourage consumers that theatregoing is safe” and to show that theatre is “ready for business”.
“This will be used in promotional materials and in venue signage alongside other health and safety messaging and campaign communications to reassure audience members and encourage consumers that theatregoing is safe,” the bodies said in a briefing to inform members of ongoing plans in light of the pandemic.
SOLT and UK Theatre added that they planned to create a safety video for theatres to use, once they are able to reopen, to demonstrate how they are following guidelines, alongside what the bodies described as “ticketing principles” to allow greater flexibility for audiences.
Job Losses - Theatre job losses have increased from 3,000 to 5,000 in a month, according to figures from entertainment union BECTU. Figures published by the union on 3 July revealed that employers had notified the union

 
buhler-genaTP appoints US head of business development
Tuesday, 4 August 2020

USA - Theatre Projects has announced the addition of Gena Buhler in the new position of head of new business development, North America. Joining from the Wheeler Opera House (Aspen, CO) where she served as the executive and artistic director, Buhler brings over 20 years’ experience in event production, venue management, operational logistics, festival and program development, and relationship-building of critical partnerships.
She will lead the business development team in North America and will act as a key member of the strategic planning team, offering timely and expert advice on project needs, feasibility, early project visioning, and other business planning
“Gena’s a great addition to our team,” says Daniel Ordower, general manager. “She understands the industry, our goals, and our markets - the arts, corporate, hospitality, retail, sports, and entertainment. She’ll be offering valuable and strategic insights to our clients on the management and operations of their venues, which will enable us to create more sustainable, impactful, and efficient spaces for their communities.”
“I’m delighted to be able to engage with the amazingly talented, smart, and creative group of people who come to work every day excited and full of energy,” says Buhler. “I’m looking forward to helping Theatre Projects realize our full potential, while being able to collaborate and offer support to my colleagues and friends across North America. Even amid the greater impacts of 2020 to our industry, I’m

 
 
harry-parslowTourLife founder shortlisted for award
Monday, 3 August 2020

UK - Harry Parslow, managing director of TourLife, which provides support services for the touring and live entertainment industry, has been shortlisted for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category at the 2020 Great British Entrepreneur Awards for the South West region.
The Great British Entrepreneur Awards - which will be held on 23 September via a virtual ceremony for the first time - has shortlisted 550 entrepreneurs and 433 businesses across eight regions in 15 categories, including Creative Industries, Disruptor, Scale-Up and Young.
Launched in 2012, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards have celebrated and championed the entrepreneurs behind some of Britain’s upcoming and influential businesses.
Music industry disruptor TourLife, which is celebrating its fifth year in business this month, were founded in 2015 by the then teenage Harry Parslow. The company was created to bring about a new business model to support artists, producers and entertainers, by offering a single point of contact for them.
TourLife has built its business on providing on a range of key support services which include creative services such as videography, photography, merchandising and live streaming services, to on the ground support including tour management services, and luxury transport. Over the last five years, TourLife has worked with DJs, artists, bands and brands including The Game, Xzibit, Annie Mac, Charlie Sloth, Danny Howard, Defected Records and Ministry of Sound.
Parslow comments: “Being amongst some of Britain’s best industry leaders f

 
ek-online-storeOnline ordering announced for Electro Kabuki
Friday, 31 July 2020

UK - Electro Kabuki has started a process to enhance its website. The site at https://electrokabuki.com now offers an online ordering and payment facility covering the entire range of Electro Kabuki systems, components, accessories and spares for UK delivery.
With the new e-commerce and shopping cart functionality, web visitors can now select from over 20 different products lines including Starter Packs, Flight Cases, individual Electro Kabuki dropper modules and an array of accessories.
In this first phase of the website’s upgrade, online ordering and delivery is limited to destinations in the UK, with ex-VAT prices listed in pounds sterling. The second phase will see this functionality rolled out to other geographic territories and currencies.
“The shopping function is live and working,” comments Electro Kabuki product specialist Tim Lloyd. “For now, our online operations only scope the UK while we fully appraise our shopping cart technology. People trust Electro Kabuki with proven engineering expertise at its heart and this must apply equally to our online transactional procedures. Once we are satisfied, we plan to extend the scope of online ordering and payment.”
Overseas Electro Kabuki users can still use the website to select items and automatically assemble and submit a list of materials to obtain a quotation that will include shipping costs in local currency.

 
 
harlequinHarlequin Floors opens new European distribution centre
Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Belgium - Harlequin Floors has launched its new manufacturing plant and distribution centre in Liège.
The new 2,000 sq.m plant based in Liège will manufacture Harlequin Liberty sprung floor panels and will ensure an even faster service for our European clients, especially those in the events industry where a rapid turnaround on orders is a prerequisite and will be even more important to help rebuild the industry post-pandemic. The new site will improve efficiencies in manufacturing and supply, says the company.
It will also enable Harlequin to service the growing demand for its products in Europe.
Harlequin has also appointed Berlin-based Sander Resnik as commercial director of Harlequin Deutschland. The company will use Resnik’s background in sales expansion and e-commerce to widen its German-speaking customer base, which is dominated by the dancing elite but has further potential in the wider dancing community as well as the events industry.
Resnik comments: “I am glad to be with Harlequin Floors at this time and to be able to support the DACH region with my expertise. Working closely with Mr [Dirk] Rüter and the team in Berlin, I aim to show our German speaking customers how important it is to train and perform on a real dance floor as opposed to a generic sports floor. We are sure that our customers will also welcome further improvements to our excellent service as well as new products we are currently developing.”
Guy Dagger, CEO of the Harlequin Group, adds: “Harlequin has experienced incredible global growth over the l

 
The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Emergency Support - Grassroots music venues in England will be the first cultural organisations to benefit from the government’s £1.57 billion package for the arts, with the most at-risk organisations receiving cash in the “next few weeks”. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed that the first tranche of money - totalling £2.25m - will fund emergency support grants for music venues at risk of imminent collapse.
It is the first news about how the billion-pound package will be spent, coming nearly three weeks after the initial announcement and following pressure from industry and unions to provide urgent clarification. A maximum of 150 venues that are at “severe risk of insolvency” are expected to benefit from the new funding, which will be distributed by Arts Council England and will provide grants of up to £80,000 to cover ongoing costs such as rent, bills and maintenance contracts.
Palladium Pilot - LW Theatres chief executive Rebecca Kane Burton has claimed a pilot event held at the London Palladium will enable theatres up and down the country to reopen their doors. At the test event, held to see how theatres can reopen safely, she said LW Theatres had employed the head of pharmacology at the University of Oxford, along with six other “erudite scientists”, to write a report looking at methods of getting theatres reopened, and which measures will enable that. She said LW Theatres had been through an 18-week process to see how venues can reopen.
“In this way, we can help theatres up and down this

 
 
Current RMS adds pandemic-related features 
Tuesday, 28 July 2020

UK - The entertainment industry as a whole has been widely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resource has been put into new, on-demand projects such as virtual events and live streams, temporary structures for health services, and educational systems for schools, colleges, and universities.
The team at Current RMS has recognised the shift in priorities and has launched new features that represent this new climate. Their new ‘postponed’ feature allows for users to temporarily pause jobs that will be reinstated in future, and retains all asset allocations, bookable resource allocations, and costs associated with each job.
They have also launched a ‘Testing and Inspection’ module, giving users the ability to record  testing data, whether that be for PAT, Test & Tag, OSHA, LOLER, or purely as a quality check. Current RMS’ Testing and Inspection module shows which kit needs testing and how often, a list of all upcoming tests, the ability to log test results including a pass or fail status, print test documents, and get warnings when assets that are due a test are allocated to a job, or prevent Current RMS from letting you allocate them altogether.
Also new is a feature allowing users to choose which tiles show on their dashboard when they first log in.

 
heightPASMA responds to HSE tower prosecution
Tuesday, 28 July 2020

UK - A recent prosecution at Glasgow Sheriff Court has highlighted both the human and financial consequences when work at height is not properly planned, designed and managed, PASMA has said.
The association highlighted a recent court case, which looked at an incident from 2 September 2016 when an employee of JR Scaffold Services Ltd, who was erecting a tower scaffold to carry out roof repairs, fell 8m after the cantilever section on which he was standing collapsed. According to reports, the fall left him hospitalised for two weeks, with severe injuries including a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen and multiple rib and shoulder fractures. It was five months before he could return to work and he will be on daily antibiotics for the rest of his life.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had correctly carried out a risk assessment and method statement before starting work. However, the tower was erected in the wrong place. Rather than dismantle and reassemble in the right place, it was decided that a cantilever section should be added, despite this not being included in the design.
The HSE identified two major errors in what followed. Firstly, there were insufficient anchor ties available on site, so the cantilever was supported by splicing the frame of the scaffold. Secondly, no ballast/counterweight was used, which meant the top section of the tower was unable to support the weight of the cantilever.
When the employee stood on the cantilever section to fit toe boards, the top section of the scaffold and cant

 
 
london-eyeLight It Blue founders launch mental health initiative
Monday, 27 July 2020

UK - The collective behind the #LightItBlue campaign has formed a community interest company (CIC) dedicated to raising funds for mental health charities, with particular focus on benefitting people from the events and entertainment sectors.
#LightItBlue was created at the onset of lockdown by a group of events and entertainment industry professionals to show a united display of gratitude to the NHS and frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Within four months the campaign had become a global movement spanning 23 countries across six continents and enjoying a social media reach of 700m.
The initiative began on Thursday 26 March when over 100 of the UK’s most famous event venues, sports stadiums and giant LED screens were illuminated in blue to coincide with the nationwide applause for the NHS and frontline care workers.
Since then, landmarks across the world - including Windsor Castle, Niagara Falls, Komazawa Park Olympics Memorial Tower and the Prince's Palace of Monaco have taken part by illuminating blue on Thursday nights. Celebrities and members of the public joined in the ensuing social media campaign to #MakeItBlue in their own way.
One of the new CIC’s directors, Tom Rees, said: “Mental health was on our agenda right from the start. We knew that thousands of event and entertainment industry jobs would be lost or put on hold indefinitely. With so many production companies, venues, agencies and freelancers facing an uncertain future, the impact on individuals’ mental health will be catastrophic.”
Gary W

 
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

 
 
The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Freelance Survey - A quarter of freelance theatre workers have been unable to access emergency income of any kind and a third are considering leaving the industry, a survey of more than 8,000 participants has found. The research also revealed that 36% of the freelance workforce in the performing arts received no support from the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or coronavirus job retention scheme.
The statistics came from the Big Freelancers Survey, conducted by Stage Directors UK, Freelancers Make Theatre Work and Curtain Call in June 2020. They have been revealed amid widespread calls for the government to ensure its recently announced £1.57 billion support package will reach all areas of the industry, including freelancers. The statistics were published as part of the report Covid-19: Routes to Recovery, which looks at challenges faced by freelancers in three areas: emergency relief, sustaining the workforce, and the recovery of the industry.
Fringe Alternatives - A crowdfunding campaign, live-streamed shows and a digital pick’n’mix platform are among the programme of alternative digital plans announced by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society for 2020. The activities will support live-streamed and online versions of work from Edinburgh Fringe creatives and venues that will run from August 7-31, when the now-cancelled festival would normally take place.
The society will be also be launching a listings site that will act as a central navigation system for the various digital fringe options. In the meantime, i

 
bethe1toenglishusBTS launches suicide prevention campaign
Monday, 13 July 2020

USA - The Behind the Scenes Mental Health Initiative has rolled out a number of suicide prevention tools as part of joining the #BeThe1To campaign run by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and its partners. These tools are available at btshelp.org/bethe1to.
A BTS survey of the industry revealed that most people want to help if they see someone at risk for suicide but they don’t know what to say or do, or are afraid they will make things worse or damage their relationship with the person. Evidence shows this is not the case and it is critical to reach out.
The first part of the campaign is called Know the Warnings Signs because the more familiar someone is with the warning signs of suicide the more likely they are to recognize them. BTS has created posters listing some of the key warning signs in English, Spanish and French and they are available for download in three different sizes. The posters are a simple design so they can be easily printed out and posted on call boards, notice boards, breakrooms, and anywhere other company or safety information is shown.
The second part of the campaign is the #BeThe1To poster which lists the five steps that can be critical to saving a life. The more familiar everyone is with them, the more comfortable they will be taking those steps. These posters are available in the same sizes and languages with the addition of a JPG for sharing on social media. They also include a QR code which leads to additional information. Each of the five steps is very straightforward but acting on them can sometimes be

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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