Panto could return by Christmas as theatres & music venues can reopen outdoors
PANTOS could return by Christmas as theatres and music venues will be allowed to reopen in England from July 11 as long as performances take place outside.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the changes this evening after admitting earlier this week he would love to see pantos back.
Outdoor performances will be able to resume on July 11[/caption]
Theatres have been closed since March and many have warned they may never reopen[/caption]
The announcement confirms revelations by The Sun that performances could resume outdoors.
Mr Dowden said this evening: “This is an important milestone for our performing artists who’ve been waiting patiently in the wings since march.
“Out theatres, operas, dance and music shows can start putting on outdoor performances to socially distance audience.”
He said today’s announcement brings the industry one step closer to performing indoors – but did not give a date for when they could expect to restart.
There will be a number of pilot tests to see how performances could restart indoors, Mr Dowden said.
The pilots will start with the London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s as well as the London Palladium and Butlins.
Even outdoors performances will have to follow strict rules – including actors staying at least a metre apart wherever possible.
All tickets will need to be sold online and venues will be encouraged to use apps to process bookings so they can help with tracing outbreaks.
It comes after theatres and the arts industry was given £1.57 billion in funding to help keep them afloat after being some of the last venues to be allowed to reopen.
They will be expected to stick to strict social distancing and follow guidelines to protect performers.
Five stage plan to get theatres back to normal
The five stages of the phased return to professional performing arts is as follows:
- Stage One – Rehearsal and training (no audiences and adhering to social distancing guidelines)
- Stage Two – Performances for broadcast and recording purposes (adhering to social distancing guidelines)
- Stage Three – Performances outdoors with an audience along with pilot test runs for indoor performances with a limited distance audience from July 11
- Stage Four – Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (but with a limited distanced audience indoors)
- Stage Five – Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)
Many theatres have been plunged into economic turmoil by the shutdown, with some smaller theatres warning they may never return.
Mr Dowden, announcing the cash boost earlier this week, said small, clocal institutions needed to be protected as much as the “crown jewels” in London’s West End.
Mr Dowden said: “We will be prioritising it to those institutions that need it most, starting with the crown jewels of our national life – the Royal Albert Halls and so on of this world,
“But also making sure it reaches every part of the United Kingdom, the Leeds Playhouse or wherever else across the UK, where culture matters to people and matters to the local economy.”
What was announced this evening:
- Grassroots sport will be able to restart from this weekend – but clubs have to submit coronavirus “action plans”
- Brits will be able to hit the gym or go swimming as well as they reopen from July 25
- Outdoor pools can reopen from Saturday
- Theatres and music venues can start performances outdoors, and there will be some trials of indoor performances
Earlier this week, Mr Dowden warned interactive performances – such as pantomimes – could be a long way off reopening because of the risk of transmission.
But he said the Government would do everything they can do get them back.
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