Regrettably, a second UK Lockdown has been announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which means further closures within an industry that was already struggling to recover from the first lockdown in March 2020.
Lesley Osman, General Manager of Danceworks has announced that all classes at the London based dance studio will be cancelled from Thursday 5 November 2020 and will remain closed until at least Wednesday 2nd December. Similar news has been flooding social media since the Prime Minister’s latest announcement, which comes as another blow to the UK’s already struggling arts industry. With the month-long lockdown due to be re-assessed with the potential of extension, there is a high level of uncertainty as to when businesses will be able to re-open, and whether this will even be something we will see by the end of the year. The sad reality may be that such businesses may not re-open this side of Christmas.
Amid rising cases of coronavirus in some of the worst affected areas, other companies, such as Manchester’s popular MHD Acting School, pre-meditated a second lockdown and closed their doors for face-to-face business early. “It was a very difficult decision,” spoke MHD Acting School’s co-founder Paul Kenney “each week we and our students were waiting with baited breath for the next announcement, and government guidance was changing every week, it felt. The uncertainty was causing so much anxiety amongst our staff and students – we were waiting for Wednesday 5pm announcements when our classes began at 7.30pm – and each week at 5pm we had douzens of confused texts and emails flooding in asking whether we were open. It was a constant battle against sudden news that we decided a firm decision needed to be made, so sadly we decided to close our doors for face to face session until at least January 2021. Following government guidance at the time we could have stayed open, but it wasn’t a healthy way to sustain a business. Our acting classes cater for a lot of beginners and international students, who are attending to build confidence, and the unprecedented anxiety this pandemic is causing was not helping us achieve this.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, many arts companies have taken to transferring their teaching into an online setting via Zoom, a platform which has now risen to take over Skype as a way of delivering online meetings.