The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 22 September 2020
Urgent Call - A third of musicians are thinking about leaving the industry altogether, as the sector’s union makes an urgent call on government to protect its talent. One in three professional musicians are set to quit and find work elsewhere as a result of the pandemic, a newly published survey from the Musicians’ Union has revealed.
With the majority of live venues still closed and both the furlough scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme entering their final months, the MU is warning the pandemic could spell the end for many professional musicians’ careers. Its research found the majority (88%) believe the government has not done enough to support musicians during the COVID-19 crisis.
Of those musicians covered by furlough and SEISS, 87% will face financial hardship when support stops next month. A third did not qualify for government assistance at all. Nearly half (47%) have been forced to seek work outside of the industry to weather the difficulties, with 34% admitting they are considering leaving music completely.
The MU is calling for a seat-matching scheme - where government subsidises the cost of a second ticket whenever one is bought - as well as tailored support for the music industry.
Courts Conversion - Two theatres in The Lowry arts centre in Salford are being converted into makeshift courtrooms to help clear the current backlog of cases. It's one of the latest venues to be taken over as a so-called Nightingale Court by the Ministry of Justice. The arts venue will host trials in three temporary courtrooms during the daytimes from Monday to Fridays.
In the evenings and weekends, the venue will stage shows and open its galleries again using funds from the court deal. The Lowry saw about 95% of its income disappear overnight when it shut in March, and has now lost £16m income, chief executive Julia Fawcett says. The Lowry will be a courthouse during weekdays, and an arts centre in the evenings and weekends The real-life courtroom drama will subsidise socially-distanced performances, which wouldn't be otherwise financially viable, she said.
Two shows - Six, the musical about Henry VIII's wives, and The Gruffalo - will be on the main stage at evenings over Christmas. During the day, trials will take place in the building's two smaller auditoria, the Quays and the Studio, as well as a conference suite. "We won't be having everyone sitting in the stalls and the judge being up on stage, it won't be like that," Fawcett said.
On The Road Again - Rock of Ages is to return for a UK tour from May next year. It will open at the Portsmouth Kings Theatre in May, before touring to venues including the New Wimbledon Theatre, Hull New Theatre and the Beck Theatre in Hayes. It has a book by Chris D’Arienzo and is directed and choreographed by Nick Winston. The production is designed by Morgan Large and has lighting design by Ben Cracknell. Sound design is by Ben Harrison and musical supervision is by Barney Ashworth.
Farewell - Ozzy Osbourne's former drummer, Lee Kerslake, has died aged 73. He is best known for his performances on the Black Sabbath frontman's debut album, Blizzard of Ozz, and was also the drummer in heavy metal band Uriah Heep. Osbourne wrote on Facebook: "It's been 39 years since I've seen Lee but he lives for ever on the records he played on for me." In a tribute posted on the band's Twitter page, fellow Uriah Heep member Mick Box wrote: "Lee was one of the kindest men on earth, as well as being a brother he was an incredible drummer, singer and song writer! He had a passion for life bar none and was much loved by the fans, as well as anyone who crossed his path! Rock in peace my friend."
(Jim Evans)
22 September 2020

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