‘Theatres facing total collapse’ – Friedman

A leading West End producer today challenges the government to prevent 70% of performing arts companies closing permanently by Christmas.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph Sonia Friedman says that without an urgent government rescue package all the performing arts “face the real possibility of complete obliteration”, with British theatre on the brink of total collapse.

Theatre has had no income since shutting doors in mid-March, and 1,000 will be insolvent by the end of the year.

One by one our arts and cultural organisations will have to spend their reserves until there is nothing left, she writes. “They will have no alternative but to enter administration: the Young Vic in November, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Old Vic shortly after. Southampton has already lost its producing theatre, the Nuffield. Others could soon follow: Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, Sheffield. Unless there is intervention, we’ll watch the Royal Shakespeare Company close down, the Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells, even the National Theatre itself: all will be gone by December.

“All West End theatres will be mothballed. Dark. We cannot let this happen.”

Meanwhile, actors led by Michelle Collins and including Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and Miriam Margolyes with the Equity Benevolent Fund have launched a fundraising initiative under #FortheLoveofArts to support thousands in the entertainment industry affected by the lockdown. https://bit.ly/3cZMh6s

“The current crisis has had a devastating effect on my industry affecting so many of us indiscriminately. I wanted to help” MNichelle Collins said. “I started ringing around friends in the industry and one thing led to another and I suddenly had a list of fantastic, well known and highly respected film, TV and stage actors on board, all wanting to help in any way they could. I also have a group of extremely talented writers who have all agreed to write a monologue for whoever needs one.”

From its Benevolent Fund Equity is currently giving out up to £86,000 per week in aid, but more is needed, and they are now asking audiences to help those working in cinemas, theatres, pubs, clubs, circuses, cruise ships, at festivals, events and parties, TV, radio and online. “Equity is hugely grateful to the actors, writers and the team at Genesius Pictures who have given their time and expertise to this vital project” said the union’s president Maureen Beattie. “We are particularly grateful to Michelle Collins for her generosity and commitment to the welfare of her fellow workers in the entertainment industry. The money raised will make a crucial difference to the thousands of performers and creatives that the Equity Benevolent Fund helps in this crisis".

 

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