The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.
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Only government can compensate individual performers and creators for lost work, and provide emergency funding to orchestras, venues, theatres and festivals. Extensive cancellations, downturns in attendance and earned income, and loss of opportunity threaten the viability of hundreds of organisations and the livelihood of thousands of artists. Immediate and robust action is urgently needed to ensure that Britain remains a world leader in the creative industries.
Wednesday 22nd July 2020
HMG announced a £1.57 billion package for cultural organisations. From 11/7 outdoor performances are allowed. From 1/8, indoor performances to live audiences can restart, subject to success of pilots.
The Government recognises the huge contribution the arts and cultural sector makes, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people.
We appreciate that this is an incredibly challenging time and that there are many cultural organisations and professionals who are currently facing difficult and uncertain circumstances. We are very alert to this issue, and are working to find solutions that support this vital sector as the lockdown eases.
On 5 July, the government announced a major £1.57 billion support package for cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. Culture and Heritage are at the heart of communities across the country, enriching the lives of millions, and this financial investment is testament to the role this sector plays in our lives.
This funding will prioritise institutions of national and international significance and those that are crucial to the valuable cultural fabric to places and communities and down the country. In order to receive support, organisations will need to demonstrate that they are at risk in this financial year and have done all they can to exhaust other options.This fund will support organisations through to the Spring of 2021.
Key organisations in England will be able to apply for grants or loans, with loans being offered on generous terms, with low rates, an up-front repayment holiday, and long payback period.
Grant funding will be delivered through Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the British Film Institute to support cultural and heritage organisations at risk, including publicly-funded and non-publicly-funded arts, museums and heritage organisations, music venues and independent cinemas. Details of guidance and application phases will be set out by Arms Length Bodies in due course. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/157-billion-investment-to-protect-britains-world-class-cultural-arts-and-heritage-institutions.
In addition, the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently revealed a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts sectors back up and running as soon as possible:
Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences)
Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes
Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience and pilots for indoor performances with a limited socially-distanced audience
Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)
Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)
From the 11th July, we will move to Stage Three. This means that performances outdoors with a socially distanced audience can take place in line with this guidance. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working alongside sector bodies including UK Theatre, the Association of British Orchestras, the Musicians’ Union, One Dance UK, the Music Venue Trust and Live Comedy Association to identify suitable pilots for indoor performances with a socially distanced audience. From 1 August, indoor performances to a live audience can restart, subject to the success of pilots.
On 9th July we published guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants which will help people understand how they can work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe. It provides advice on all aspects of performance, from casting, sound and lighting, costume and fitting, to cloakrooms, orchestra pits, hair and make-up.
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport