The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 10 November 2020
Freelance Pressure - The government has been urged to do more to help performers and other arts freelancers as venues are shut again during lockdowns in England and Wales. Labour MP Chris Elmore told the House of Commons there were "growing numbers of freelancers, musicians, performance artists who are excluded" from support. Theatre workers face "adding to the queues at food banks", another MP said.
Arts minister Caroline Dinenage said the government was "working very hard" to help freelancers access support. She said Arts Council England had allocated £119m for individuals, on top of the £1.57bn available to venues in England through the government's Culture Recovery Fund.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden acknowledged that a third of freelancers in all walks of life had not been able to access the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, which the government confirmed on Thursday would be extended to cover 80% of average trading profits. "I understand the many challenges faced by freelancers and I hear about it every day," Mr Dowden said. "It is the case that across the economy 66% of freelancers are able to benefit from the Treasury scheme, which has been increased again by the chancellor."
Responding to chancellor Rishi Sunak's announcement, Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said she was "delighted" but that "expanding the eligibility criteria remains essential for preventing an exodus of highly skilled talent from our world-leading arts sector".
Green Shoots - Westminster MP Nickie Aiken has argued that despite the second lockdown there are “green shoots” for the West End and London’s theatre industry, but has pledged to push for more clarity on the details of how the sector can emerge next month. The Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster said she believed the industry must be realistic about timelines for returning to full capacity, warning that it may be “a long time” before it is possible, but is positive about the industry’s medium-term future.
“I hope that doing the second lockdown means we can come back and be where we were before, if not further advanced, so that theatres can look to reopen with social distancing [after four weeks],” said Aiken, whose constituency includes the West End. “I am really pushing government on what actually comes after 2 December.
In The Saleroom - Ed Sheeran memorabilia has raised more than £400,000 to support children and young people with disabilities and life-limiting illnesses. More than 220 collectables went under the hammer as part of the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk Legacy Auction. The star lot was the singer's abstract painting Dab 2 that fetched £40,000. A donation of £100,000 was also made by Suffolk firm Tru7 Group, taking the total to £506,000. Organiser Gina Long said the response was "remarkable".
Prize Winners - BTS were the big winners at the 2020 MTV EMAs, taking home four prizes, including best song and best group. The Korean boyband also won the biggest fans category for the third time, overtaking One Direction and Justin Bieber, who have each won twice. Lady Gaga was named artist of the year, just as she did at the US equivalent of the MTV-branded show in September.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis across, this year's EMAs featured filmed performances from various locations around Europe - enabling musicians to stage more spectacular performances than they'd have managed in the usual arena setting. British punk-pop star Yungblud strapped on angel wings and flew around London's historic Roundhouse venue, while singing his hits Cotton Candy and Strawberry Lipstick.
Farewell - Former Uriah Heep keyboard player Ken Hensley has died at the age of 75. He died peacefully following a short illness, his management confirmed. Former bandmate, Mick Box said his music "will be in people's hearts forever".
(Jim Evans)
10 November 2020

Latest Issue. . .

Tweets from our Friends