Absolute certainty needed for theatre audiences to return this year, says Bectu

7 September 2020

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has announced that the government is exploring re-opening theatres with larger audiences later this year.

In response Bectu national secretary Noel McClean said: “Oliver Dowden’s announcement that the government intends to re-open theatres with mass audiences in December should be cautiously welcomed. However, for that intention to become a reality we need absolute certainty and for the government to engage with all industry stake holders to deliver.

“The right environment needs to be created for his ambition to “bring back some of the magic of theatre for families this Christmas” to come true. Many of our members will be questioning this message as they know that it will be very difficult to organise performances and sell the tickets in such a tight time frame.

“For that to happen there needs to be a clear practical plan that the entire industry is part of, as well as an extension of the Job Retention Scheme and Self-employment Income Support Scheme and government-backed insurance for performances.

“The government’s theatre re-opening plan also needs to include live events spaces, such as music and comedy venues. These employers and their workers need equivalent support to the theatres in order to survive.

“Without these key elements this announcement will only create further confusion for an industry that is still waiting for the Culture Recovery Fund to be distributed and is cutting thousands of jobs due to the lack of certainty it is facing.”