The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 16 March 2021
To Safely Go - Pilots to assess how small and large-scale events can reopen safely are being launched by the government, which is describing the work as “crucial” for getting venues such as theatres reopened in June under the roadmap. The government said it was working with event organisers and local authorities to get “fans safely around a dozen events this spring”, as part of the previously announced Events Research Programme.
The ERP will provide “key scientific data into how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen”, the government said, in line with getting venues - including theatres - reopened without social distancing no earlier than 21 June. Major events already lined up for the pilot scheme include the World Snooker Championships, at the Sheffield Crucible, and the FA Cup final at Wembley.
The World Snooker Championships at the Crucible will “test a theatre setting”, the government said, and evidence will then be shared across the sector so venues can “prepare to accommodate fuller audiences". It said the review would be “crucial to how venues - from major sport stadiums to comedy clubs, theatres to live music spaces, wedding venues to conference centres - could operate this summer”.
Centre Stage - Drama schools need to appoint more people of colour in academic and management positions “as a matter of urgency to create permanent institutional change”, according to a new report from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation that points to slow progress on diversity. The report, called Centre Stage 2021, claims that the proportion of black and minority ethnic students attending drama schools has increased by just 7.5 percentage points in five years, following on from an earlier report in 2016.
It warns that more work is needed to improve representation at drama schools and also cautions that the pandemic “represents the biggest threat” to ongoing efforts to improve representation among students. The report surveyed 22 of the UK’s leading drama schools, and received results from 15.
Record Breakers - Beyoncé has set a new record at the Grammy Awards with her 28th win. The singer is now the most-awarded woman in Grammys history, overtaking bluegrass singer Alison Krauss. Taylor Swift also made history at Sunday's ceremony, by becoming the first female artist ever to win album of the year three times. Swift was rewarded for her lockdown album Folklore - after previously winning with Fearless in 2010 and the pop opus 1989 in 2016. Only three other artists have ever won the album of the year prize three times: Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.
Boycott - The Weeknd has said he will boycott future Grammy Awards after being snubbed in this year's nominations. The Canadian performer, whose single Blinding Lights was the biggest-seller in the world last year, was not shortlisted for a single award. In a new statement ahead of Sunday's ceremony, the singer said: "I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys." He said he would remain absent from the event until the Recording Academy, which organises the awards, got rid of the "secret committees" that decide many of the nominations.
The Grammys voting procedures are notoriously opaque, with review committees having the final say in 72 of the 83 categories. The anonymous panels, which can include musicians, record label staff and experts, review the initial choices of the Grammy voters and have the final say over who makes the shortlist.
Picture This - An Ed Sheeran painting has raised more than £51,000 for a cancer charity in a raffle. The 30-year-old colourful abstract artwork, called Splash Planet, was won by someone on the east coast of the US, who paid £20 for a raffle ticket. Chief executive of the Cancer Campaign in Suffolk (CCiS), Karen Hare, said she was "overwhelmed and delighted".
Sheeran said the painting was "one of the big splashy ones" seen on the cover of his single, Afterglow. The singer previously donated another painting, Dab 2, to a charity auction, where it sold for £40,000.
(Jim Evans)
16 March 2021

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