Pilot Programme - Further findings from the government’s Covid pilot programme claim that mass participation events "can be conducted safely", with case numbers from four months of crowds remaining in line with, or below, community infection rates. Little to no coronavirus cases were detected among audiences that had attended several theatre pilots, including indoor and outdoor performance.
The second release of data from the Events Research Programme, covering phases II and III of the pilot scheme, concluded that major events can take place in a safe way and demonstrates how certification can be "effectively implemented at large events". The findings cover all 37 test events, which took place in England across a four-month period between April and July, however the latest research includes pilots specifically intended to test events of increased size and scale.
According to the data, fewer than five Covid cases were recorded over 10 indoor performances at the Grange opera festival, at four shows at Grosvenor Park Outdoor Theatre in Chester or at seven performances of Leeds Playhouse and Opera North’s A Little Night Music.
The data does show spikes in cases across the country on the days after England’s Euro 2020 matches, which "highlights the need for members of the public to remain cautious in all settings" the government said. "A cautious approach should be taken at unstructured events involving attendees being in close proximity for extended periods of time, when spectators are at high-density pinch points at venues, when travelling to and from events, and when mixing indoors before, during and after events," it added.
West End Live - West End Live will return to Trafalgar Square next month, heralding the return of London’s theatre sector, with appearances from shows including Hamilton, Frozen, Dear Evan Hansen and & Juliet. The annual event will go ahead on September 18 and 19, after a year’s hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Julia Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre – which runs West End Live – said: "It is fantastic to be able to bring West End Live back this year. I can’t think of a better way to fully welcome back our beloved productions and celebrate the incredible talent, resilience and creativity on our stages, and to put on an unforgettable show for the countless theatre lovers who have supported our industry so passionately in its time of need."
Pantoland - Singer, actor and TV host Donny Osmond will star alongside pantomime regulars including Julian Clary and Gary Wilmot in Pantoland at the Palladium, which will open at the West End theatre in December. Osmond will play the Wizard of Pantomime in the production, which was originally programmed in 2020 but was cut short due to Covid-19 restrictions. The cast also includes Clary, Nigel Havers and Paul Zerdin, who have starred in pantomimes at the London Palladium since Cinderella 2016, and Wilmot, who joined the cast in 2017.
Farewell - Don Everly, the surviving member of the influentual duo The Everly Brothers, has died at the age of 84. Everly and his brother, Phil, had hits worldwide in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including Bye Bye Love and All I Have To Do Is Dream. They were known for their close harmonies and influenced groups like The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. The pair had an onstage breakup in 1973 that led to a decade-long estrangement, but Phil later told Time magazine that the brothers' relationship had survived this. RIP.
(Jim Evans)
24 August 2021

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