Crisis Grants - The Royal Theatrical Fund has launched a one-off Emergency Crisis Grant Award to assist struggling workers in the industry during the cost-of-living crisis. The grant, open for applications from 1 November, is intended to help those who are "unable to meet their essential needs" due to an unexpected change in circumstances.
The non-profit organisation cited the continuing cost-of-living crisis as a factor behind the initiative, and suggested grants could be used to pay phone bills, buy school uniform and for food. Eligible applicants must derive their main income from the entertainment business and have worked professionally in the industry for seven years, with professional training included within that time.
The RTF launched a similar small crisis grant scheme, the Fleabag Support Fund, in 2021. The scheme awarded more than £1.7m to theatre industry professionals in need of assistance. In a statement clarifying the capacity of its forthcoming grant award, an RTF spokesperson said: "The Royal Theatrical Fund are not limiting the support amount. As with all their grants, they assess each case individually and it is based on the need. Applicants should be in receipt of all benefits they are entitled to from the government."
Samantha Bond, actor and chair of the fund, said: "The RTF continues to make every effort to support people in the entertainment industry in the most desperate times and that is why we have launched an Emergency Crisis Grant, running for the next six months. We do not want anyone in need to be afraid to turn on their heating, use the electricity or unable to feed themselves or their family.”
Secret London - Secret Cinema owners have submitted plans to open a permanent venue in Camden and make the area a "destination for immersive theatre". Secret Cinema Group, which is behind live, immersive shows such as Dirty Dancing and Stranger Things, is seeking permission to develop the site at 180 Arlington Road, with the hope of boosting the number of immersive theatre and events in the area.
Shows would follow a “pulse” format, with tickets being available on a time slot basis, which would distribute the audience throughout the day, according to a planning document. The building was originally designed as a 2,742-seat cinema and then split into a cinema and music hall in 1968, with a front of house, auditorium and stage area in the 1930s. It has most recently been occupied by Mecca Bingo and used as a bingo hall, however it has stated it has not seen the footfall it needs to ensure its continued operation.
Home Recording - Ed Sheeran says he has been secretly recording a new live album in fans' living rooms. Sheeran revealed on social media that he has been surprising fans at their houses and recording songs in their living rooms for a new live album, which will feature iterations of songs from his upcoming studio album, Autumn Variations.The 32-year-old said he had already recorded a live track at fan Kari Conaway's house when he saw a piano in her room, and decided to put on an impromptu performance of Wake Me Up, a song from his first studio album, Plus.
Swift Hit - In a year of record-breaking achievements, Taylor Swift has done it again. A re-recording of her crossover pop album 1989 has become the UK's fastest-selling record of 2023. 1989 (Taylor's Version) shifted 184,000 copies last week, more than double the opening-week sales of the 2014 original. It is the only album released this year to go gold in a single week and is Swift's 11th UK number one overall. Among female artists, only Madonna has more chart toppers - and Swift is now within touching distance of her record of 12.
Aliens and Space - Camp Bestival has announced its theme for 2024 will be "intergalactic, aliens and space". The family-friendly event will be held at Lulworth Castle in Dorset between 26 and 28 July and at Weston Park in Shropshire between 15 and 18 August. The festival will transform the venues and feature activities, fancy dress and decorations all centred around the theme. Curators Josie and Rob da Bank said it would be the "best year yet". "When Josie and I wrack our increasingly small but colourful brains for theme ideas we always manage to throw in some cosmic goodness whatever the final outcome," said Mr da Bank.
"So, this year we've gone full tilt in our imaginary da Bank family rocket to a wonderful intergalactic universe of aliens and all things space."
Island Music - The Prodigy, Pet Shop Boys and Green Day will headline the Isle of Wight Festival next year. They will be joined by other artists including Keane, Simple Minds, Zara Larsson, McFly and Beverley Knight. Scouting For Girls, Britpop band Suede and DJ Jo Whiley with her ‘90s anthems are all set to top the bill in the big top arena. The event takes place at Seaclose Park in Newport between 20-23 June.
Latitude - Duran Duran have announced they will play their only UK show next summer at Latitude Festival. The band - who have just released their latest album - have been revealed as the first headliner on the Suffolk festival bill for 2024. Festival director Melvin Benn said the group's "mesmerising performances make them an ideal fit" for the event.
(Jim Evans)
7 November 2023

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