In the Dark - COVID-19’s impact on the UK’s theatre industry has been widely understated in public discourse due to an "ongoing devaluation of the live arts", according to a report. Freelancers in the Dark is a research project undertaken between July 2020 and March 2022, funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s Economic and Social Research Council. It investigated the economic, cultural and social impact of COVID-19 on theatre’s freelance workforce and was led by Holly Maples at the University of Essex, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University and Queen’s University, Belfast.
The report includes a series of recommendations for the industry informed by the previously published findings from a survey of 397 freelancers from November 2020 to March 2021, as well as 135 one-to-one interviews, focus groups and creative workshops. In the survey, 55% of respondents said they felt very or quite unsupported by organisations, compared with 19% who felt very or quite supported, while nearly three quarters (72%) felt more pessimistic about their future as a theatre freelancer.
Ukraine Aid - The Royal Court is staging a day of play readings in solidarity with Ukrainian theatre artists, including a live stream of Natal’ya Vorozhbit’s Bad Roads. The day-long event on 1 April will feature readings by 10 members of the Theater of Playwrights in Kyiv, telling their own stories about the war. They will be performed in the London venue’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. The reading will also be live streamed on the Royal Court and Guardian websites.
Tickets will cost £8 – however the live stream will be free to access – and revenue from ticket sales will go towards supporting the Ukrainian artists involved in the event, with audiences also encouraged to donate to Unicef UK’s fundraising appeal to protect children in Ukraine.
West End Live - Musical theatre festival West End Live will return to Trafalgar Square this summer. It will take place in London on the weekend of 25-26 June, sponsored by Sky VIP. The event, a joint production between Westminster City Council and the Society of London Theatre, promises dozens of shows and acts, with last year’s event featuring 830 performers, creatives and production staff.
SOLT president Eleanor Lloyd said: “We are delighted to be working with Westminster again to produce West End Live, a spectacular display of the unparalleled talent on our stages. Each year, everyone involved in West End Live – including the incredible performers on stage – feels immensely privileged to be part of such a unique event, bringing audiences together with the shows they love, thanking theatre fans and welcoming new ones.” The line-up of performances will be announced closer to the event.
Teen Angel - Jason Donovan will play Teen Angel in Grease at the Dominion Theatre. Donovan will play the role in certain performances, starting on June 29. He said: "As a lifelong fan of the show, I’m thrilled to be joining the cast in the role of Teen Angel at the Dominion. While I may have missed the boat on playing Danny, the Teen Angel seemed like the perfect fit. I especially look forward to those few performances I get to perform with Peter Andre as Vince Fontaine."
(Jim Evans)
29 March 2022

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