The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Safety Concerns - COVID-19 safety concerns are preventing a significant proportion of previously frequent arts attenders from returning to cultural venues, newly released research has suggested.
Among audiences that have not yet returned to in-person performance, less than a third have booked tickets to a cultural event in future, underlining the crucial importance of COVID safety reassurance from venues, according to the joint research by the Insights Alliance, made up of consultancies Indigo, Baker Richards and One Further. The organisations have urged theatres to continue to employing safety measures such as mask wearing and COVID status certification, arguing that failing to do so is “counterproductive”.
Over a six-week period in September and October they surveyed nearly 11,000 people, who were frequent arts attenders before the pandemic. Of those surveyed, 45% have not yet returned to any cultural venue, while a third of all respondents have not yet made a future booking. Researchers noted that the survey was circulated by cultural organisations to audiences who had not yet returned to their venue since the pandemic to gain insight into the reasons why, and is therefore not representative of audiences overall.
Big Weekend - Coventry will host Radio 1's Big Weekend in 2022, three years after the last live Big Weekend festival. It will take place 27-29 May at the War Memorial Park. More than 70,000 fans are expected over the three-day event, and acts are expected to be announced soon. Coventry is the UK city of culture for 2021. In 2018, it hosted the Biggest Weekend, a UK-wide music festival run by BBC Music.
LGBT Rights - Ed Sheeran and boyband BTS were the big winners at the MTV EMAs as stars joined together to support LGBT rights in Budapest. Sheeran, who opened the ceremony on Sunday, won best artist and best song for Bad Habits. BTS picked up four awards including best pop and best group.
Rapper Saweetie called for tolerance as she hosted the event in the Hungarian capital amid controversy over recent anti-LGBT legislation in the country. The US star insisted it is "always important we respect each other", as she relaxed on a chaise longue wearing a bikini in a mock spa location - a reference to Budapest's spa culture. "That's why it's so important we stand up for the LGBTQ+ community," she added.
Park Life - A production of Legally Blonde directed by Six co-creator Lucy Moss and a retelling of Antigone by Inua Ellams will feature in Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s 90th anniversary season. The programme also features the premiere of new musical 101 Dalmations, which was previously postponed due to the pandemic. Legally Blonde, which has music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach, runs from 13 May to 2 July 2022.
In The Sale Room - A tambourine used in the recording of Oasis' album (What's The Story) Morning Glory has been sold for seven-times its estimate at auction. Liam Gallagher used the instrument on hits Wonderwall and Champagne Supernova before throwing it out after recording in Monmouthshire in 1995. Now Morning Glory's engineer has sold the tambourine, which had a £300-£500 guide price, for £3,600 at auction. "It was pretty battered by the end of the session and was going to be thrown away. But I claimed it," said Nick Brine, who was in charge of the sound on the record.
The tambourine sold to an internet bidder at Hansons auctioneers in Derbyshire who wanted the "opportunity to own a slice of British rock history". "The price took my breath away, its musical pedigree proved irresistible to bidders," said Hansons' music memorabilia valuer Josh McCarthy
Record Sales - Abba’s long-awaited Voyage - their first album of new material for 40 years - shot straight to number one, earning them the biggest opening week of sales for any album in four years. Its 204,000 first-week chart sales is the highest since Ed Sheeran's Divide. Abba's last studio album, 1981's The Visitors, also topped the chart.
Going Underground - Vault Festival is to return in 2022 following a hiatus last year due to the pandemic, with its biggest programme to date in celebration of the event’s 10th anniversary. Running in London Waterloo from 25 January to 20 March 2022, the festival will feature more than 600 theatre, comedy, cabaret and immersive shows.
(Jim Evans)
16 November 2021

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