Today’s announcement is a catastrophe for the theatre, music and live-entertainment sector. The only guaranteed outcome is the negative impact on jobs, local economies and the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.
This delay is yet another bungle from a government that wouldn’t be given a single star in a review of its performance. The confusion and muddled-messages are reminiscent of a West End farce.
The vast majority of theatres cannot operate whilst social-distancing remains; but other measures can be put in place to reduce risk. The government knows this. Its own data shows that a visit to a live event (at full capacity) is safer than a trip to a pub, restaurant or supermarket. Yet still, our world-leading sector is being prevented from opening, despite the untold millions that have been spent on preparations.
Britain needs live-theatre and live-entertainment. It’s thrilling, joyful and fun. It’s an escape, a diversion and a release. It’s one of the few remaining shared experiences we have. In fact, it’s precisely the tonic the country needs, now, more than ever.
Millions have booked tickets in anticipation of that experience – whether for our own Jersey Boys, Anything Goes or Death Drop – or for a festival, music gig or regional show. But they, and others, need confidence that the shows will go on.
80% of adults have had a vaccine. 60% – including those at serious risk – have had a second dose. With the data supporting a return to live events at full capacity -and with risks now diminishing – we urge the government to act before it’s too late.
During the pandemic this government has been fond of three word slogans. Hands, Face, Space. Build back better. Today we ask them to consider a few more. Open our theatres. Enough is enough. Let audiences in.
Sir Howard Panter & Dame Rosemary Squire, Trafalgar Entertainment