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, it has announced its own series of digital activities. These include virtual shows, a festival-wide crowdfunding campaign, artist workshops, a new online arts industry platform and a virtual Fringe Central.
Open Air Openings - An open air Roman theatre is reopening with socially-distanced seating and no interval to avoid queues for toilets when performances resume. Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry V will be staged at the Roman Theatre of Verulamium in St Albans, Hertfordshire, next month.
Adam Nichols, artistic director of the Maltings Theatre which is staging the plays, said: "The fortunate thing about that venue is there are different levels, almost like a conventional playhouse, so it will have what are like stalls down at the bottom, then a dress circle on some grass mounds and then an outer grass bank which will be almost like an upper circle. The stage area will be quite large so we can actually get the actors reasonably distant from each other."
Also on the outside, Brighton Open Air Theatre has announced it will reopen on 25 July after the government gave the green light for outdoor performances to resume. Social distancing and Covid-safe measures will be in place whenthe variety show BOAT Unlocked opens. A press release from the venue said the reopening marked an end to a “long period of confusion and frustration”.
Show Must Go On - Specially designed Show Must Go On T-shirts have raised £250,000 for charity. The shirts have been on sale alongside other items, including mugs and badges, and were created by Damien Stanton and Chris Marcus under the Theatre Support Fund banner. Money raised is split between Acting for Others, the Fleabag Support Fund and the NHS Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. To date, there have been 20,000 orders from 63 countries. All profits from merchandise sold go to the selected charities.
Farewell - Fairport Convention singer Judy Dyble has died aged 71. The folk artist, who also had a solo career, had been suffering from a long-term illness. Dyble rose to prominence during the 1960s and performed on Fairport Convention songs including Time Will Show the Wiser.
A statement from her agent said: “It is with great sadness that we announce that English singer-songwriter Judy Dyble passed away on 12 July following a long illness borne with great courage. Judy Dyble was one of the pioneers of the English folk rock scene in the 1960s. We wish to express our deepest sympathies to Judy’s family, friends and many associates from her musical career at this time.”
(Jim Evans)
14 July 2020

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