Many of you will have read the exciting news that theatres can open from 1st August……Here is the reaction from Upstairs at the Gatehouse and our industry association the Society of Independent Theatres (SIT). This has been sent to Arts Minister Oliver Dowden and the DCMS :
- If any of our theatres can open on 1st August they will. However, due to the logistical restrictions of two weeks’ notice, that is very doubtful.
- We are concerned that the Prime Minister said “subject to the pilot events”. Does that mean if the SAGE team come up with figures that the political advisors don’t like…… we are all back at square one?
- We understand the first pilot event is an orchestral concert at St Luke’s. Are any SIT venues going to be asked to stage a ‘pilot event’?
- Our concern is that the statement totally revolves around the audiences. It looks like the safety measures that will need to be put in place are biased towards protecting the audience. The actors, crew and staff seem to be only a minor concern. There is one sentence in the statement which says: Performers, conductors, musicians must observe social distancing wherever possible.
- Not quite sure why conductors were singled out but the words ‘wherever possible’ are open to all sorts of interpretation. We do not want to put actors, technicians creatives and staff in danger of catching the virus. Casts and hence shows, will be restricted by the size of the theatre’s dressing rooms rather than by the creative policy of the Artistic Director.
- Insurance is a big worry. If theatre companies can’t, as it seems, insure against a problem caused by the virus, what do we do about the risk?
- The Prime Minister’s remarks about expansion on/after 1st November will hopefully suit everyone who has staff on furlough but what about the free-lancers on whom we all rely – will the Government support them so they will be able to survive the next three months?
- Most of the SIT theatres need their share of the £1.57 billion (Government grant to The Arts) to make our venues Covid safe. Deep cleaning will not come cheap. We need to know how and when the financial help will arrive.
We would like assurance that the needs of the UK’s small, independent, fringe theatres are not forgotten during discussions about the Arts rescue policy
Response to the Coronavirus Crisis
Upstairs at the Gatehouse has suspended all performances. We will continue to review the situation and hopefully re-open in the Autumn.
All of the shows between 17th March and 31st May were either cancelled or have been moved to a future date. Ticket refunds have now been completed and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who contributed the value of their tickets to help the theatre survive these difficult times. The offer was very much appreciated and we thank you for your generosity, this will enable us to cover some of our fixed running costs over the next six months. For updates please check this website, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
John, Katie and Annlouise thank you for your continued support of Upstairs at the Gatehouse.
Box Office: 020 8340 3488
Administration: 020 8340 4256
29th July 2020