The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 11 May 2021
Green Light - Theatres across England have been given the green light to reopen from next week under the next stage of the government’s roadmap. Venues will be able to open with social distancing, with capacities capped at 50% or 1,000 people for indoor shows, and 50% or 4,000 people outdoors.
For many theatres it will mark the first time they have been able to open their doors in more than a year, with theatre bosses now looking forward to the possibility of social distancing being removed completely by June 21, the next date in the roadmap.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said theatres would be able to reopen on 17 May and added that the country was “on track" to move to Step 4 of the roadmap on 21 June, under which social distancing would be removed. "Today we are announcing the single biggest step in our roadmap and it will allow us to do many of the things we have yearned to do for a long time," he said.
On Broadway - Tickets for Broadway go on sale this week, although shows will not restart until 14 September. Theatres will then be allowed to fill 100% of capacity, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced. Thousands lost work when Broadway theatres closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic. "Broadway is a major part of our state's identity and economy, and we are thrilled that the curtains will rise again," Cuomo said on Twitter.
New York plans to lift the majority of coronavirus restrictions later this month, but Broadway needs more time for rehearsals and producers need time to advertise the shows. "Restarting Broadway is a complex endeavour," Charlotte St Martin, president of the Broadway League, an industry group, told the Reuters news agency. "Today's green light by the governor to put our shows on sale now for the fall is vital to our success.”
Safety procedures are still being ironed out, with one possibility being a requirement for audience members to show proof of vaccination. "We've never done this before," Victoria Bailey, executive director of TDF, a non-profit organisation which oversees a ticket-selling booth in Times Square, told the New York Times. "The last time the theatre industry opened from a pandemic, Shakespeare was still writing new plays."
Brits Icon - Taylor Swift is to become the first female winner of the Global Icon award at the Brits this evening. She will also be the first non-British recipient of the prize, which the Brits characterise as their highest honour. Only three other artists have been named Brits Icons - Sir Elton John, David Bowie and Robbie Williams. Swift is not expected to perform at the ceremony, which will take place with an audience as part of the government's pilot scheme for live events.
About 4,000 people will attend the show at London's O2 arena - about one fifth of the venue's capacity. More than half of the tickets have been given to key workers from greater London. Hosted for a fourth time by Jack Whitehall, the show will open with a performance from Coldplay. Other performers on the night include Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Olivia Rodgrigo and Headie One. Rag 'n' Bone Man will also play his latest single Anywhere Away From Here, accompanied by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Choir.
Ipswich Fan - Ed Sheeran will be the new shirt sponsor for football team Ipswich Town next season. Sheeran, who lives in Suffolk and supports the League One Club, has signed a one-year deal to sponsor the men's and women's first-team shirts in the 2021/22 season. "The Football Club is a big part of the local community and this is my way of showing my support," Sheeran said. "I have always enjoyed my trips to Portman Road and I'm looking forward to going back there as soon as supporters are allowed into stadiums again.”
First Class - A set of stamps is being launched to honour Sir Paul McCartney and his "immense" legacy in the music world. Royal Mail has revealed that the set of 12, created in collaboration with the singer/songwriter, will be on sale from 28 May. David Gold of Royal Mail said: "Paul McCartney remains a vital figure at the centre of rock and pop, an artist whose legacy is immense, but whose work continues to generate popular attention and critical acclaim. This dedicated stamp issue is a fitting tribute to one of the UK's much loved and revered musical icons."
(Jim Evans)
11 May 2021

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