Royal Visit - King Charles III will officially turn the lights on to reveal what the Eurovision Song Contest stage will look like, Buckingham Palace has announced. The King - along with Camilla, the Queen Consort - will tour Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on Wednesday ahead of it hosting the event next month. As well as revealing the stage set-up they will meet show presenters and Mae Muller, who is representing the UK.
The stage design is intended to give the impression of the contest "opening its arms to Ukraine", organisers have previously said. The Royal couple will meet the creatives behind the event, along with the show's Ukrainian host Julia Sanina, UK host - and Ted Lasso star - Hannah Waddingham and BBC Radio 2's Eurovision presenters Scott Mills and Rylan Clark.
As part of their visit to the city the King and Queen Consort will also visit Liverpool Central Library to officially mark its twinning with Ukraine's first public library, the Regional Scientific Library in Odesa. They will meet people involved in both a two-week cultural festival running alongside the contest and Eurolearn - a Eurovision-inspired education programme for primary and secondary pupils.
Recovery Fund - Up to 820 arts organisations may have had their futures secured by the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, according to a new independent analysis of the scheme. A report from research and consultancy organisation Ecorys has looked at the impact of the government’s £1.57bn package of emergency support for cultural organisations that were at risk of insolvency during the pandemic.
According to the analysis and newly released data on the CRF’s grant and loan schemes, 65% of support was awarded outside of London and most (84%) of the successful applicants were small businesses. Theatres received 21% of the total funding. The evaluation gathered evidence directly from more than 1,000 organisations that applied to CRF and more than 55 stakeholders from across the wider cultural sector. It compared the experiences of organisations that were awarded funding with those that had applied for funding but were declined.
Overall, the programme made 7,689 grant awards and 37 loan awards across three rounds of funding, supporting 5,067 organisations according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Emerging Producers - Arts organisations are being urged to make a pledge to support emerging producers as part of a new initiative that aims to address skills shortages in the arts. The Creative Careers Commitment scheme asks companies to make a "dependable financial commitment" to supporting producing roles, and has been launched by the National Producers Taskforce, which is a UK-wide network of organisations committed to employment pathways for emerging producers in the arts.
The National Producers Taskforce was set up by London-based arts organisation Poet in the City, and comprises 40 organisations including the National Theatre, Manchester’s Contact venue, Creative UK and China Plate Theatre charity, Birmingham. Creative Careers Commitment is inviting arts organisations to sign up and commit to offering one training or entry-level producer role each year.
In The Courts - A copyright court case alleging Ed Sheeran ripped off the Marvin Gaye hit Let's Get It On in his song Thinking Out Loud begins in the US this week. Jury selection and opening statements will take place at the Manhattan federal courtroom in front of 95-year-old District Judge Louis Stanton.
The jury will be asked to decide whether parts of Let's Get It On, released in 1973, were copied in the singer's 2014 number one and Grammy-winning hit Thinking Out Loud. Sheeran who denies copying the song, is expected to give evidence during the trial. The case is being brought by the daughter of Ed Townsend, Gaye's co-writer of the 1973 soul classic, citing "striking similarities" between the two songs.
Frankie’s Back - Frankie Goes To Hollywood will reunite to play at a Eurovision Song Contest concert next month, 36 years after they originally split up. The band will perform at the National Lottery's Big Eurovision Welcome outside St George's Hall in Liverpool on 7 May. Frankie Goes To Hollywood formed in Liverpool in the 1980s and had number one hits with Two Tribes, The Power Of Love and Relax.
The show is designed to "celebrate Liverpool's incredible musicality" and will feature performances from other bands with a connection to the city - including Atomic Kitten, funk band The Real Thing, and rock band The Lightning Seeds - singers of the football anthem Three Lions.
(Jim Evans)
25 April 2023

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