After months of closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UK theatres and music venues have been facing immense pressures, with many establishments already closed and gone into administration due to the lack of help provided to them by the UK’s government.
Although too late for the many thousands of workers who have already lost their jobs before the government announced their £1.57bn funding for the Arts sector after months of terrible uncertainty, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced today that Indoor performances can begin to take place once again from 1 August 2020. However, this welcomed news also came with the stipulation of socially distanced audiences – meaning venues will be forced to open with 30-40% capacity and 1 meter+ gaps throughout auditoriums throughout the summer. Unfortunately for many larger venues and touring production companies, who already rely on as much as 70% ticket sales before even turning a profit, the measures in place are still going to put a tight squeeze on budgets, with some venues and bodies, such as the Theatres Trust, stating that the measures still won’t be “economically viable”.
Test runs are now being conducted to assess the length of measures required, which follows the announcement earlier this month that outdoor venues were allowed to reopen. Officials have remarked that “audiences, performers and venues will be expected to maintain social distancing at all times.”
Boris Johnson has stated that he would hope for relative normality to return to the post-covid UK by November – hopefully just in time for our many crumbling venues to claw money back during panto-season – already the sole financial necessity for many local venues throughout the UK. We’re holding tight more optimistic news.