Dame Judi calls for big rescue package for the theatre world
Everyone in the theatre industry is hanging on one big question. How can we get out of this mess? Theatres are dark, shows are being rescheduled or scrapped, producers are losing money, actors, theatre staff and technical teams are out of work.
Wow! A global pandemic with no realistic sign of a vaccine any time soon. Who could have foreseen that? Well, apparently a number of governments had been warned by epidemiologists that such a disaster has been a possibility for some considerable time, so they better make plans.
Unfortunately it seems that, with no specific timescale - this year, next years, sometime, never? - those plans didn’t really amount to very much. Which is why so many businesses, including those in the theatre world - especially the theatre world - are in deep trouble.
At Clive Conway Productions, like many others, we have been rescheduling cancelled shows and planning as best we can for the future. It's a familar story across the world of performing arts.
The creative world tends to be glass half full in its attitude but right now things don’t look too optimistic. It was heartbreaking to hear Dame Judi Dench talking of the impact of Covid-19 on Channel 4 last week, saying she believes that without a big cash injection, many of the theatres closed because of the epidemic will not reopen in her lifetime.
“We imagine that this is a temporary thing, that this is happening just now and that when the pandemic passes it’s all going to go back to normal. Well it will, maybe, for some people, but it certainly won’t for all of us working in theatre.” said the 85-year-old.
And she warned: “It affects all of us, not just actors. It affects the crew, the people who make wigs, the people who dress us, the stage doorman, lighting. Every single person - everybody is affected and none of us have any security or knowledge as to when it will come back.”
Dame Judi is right. Please lobby your MP, urge the government and anyone else who is willing to listen to press for a big rescue package for theatre and the entertainment sector. Without it the UK will be much diminished.