Concerns about whether this year’s pantomime season will be able to go ahead have been raised following a statement from UK Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden.
Last week, Dowden revealed that November is the earliest that theatres are likely to be offered a date for reopening their doors to the public. Whilst outdoor performances with social distancing are currently allowed, the theatre industry and performance venues have been left in limbo regarding when they will be able to reintroduce indoor events.
With the current furlough scheme coming to an end in October, Dowden has explained that he does not want to create false hope for the industry. Most rescheduled theatre shows have been pushed back until at least Spring 2021 to allow sufficient time for staff to be rehired and rehearsed, however theatres will face significant financial and social risk over the Winter period if they are not given enough time to produce a pantomime.
Director of Theatres Trust (Jon Morgan) has urged funding bodies, who are allocating the first round of funding from the government’s £1.57 billion arts package, to prioritise theatres who rely on their pantomimes to bring in up to 40% of their annual revenue.
Words by Ellie Robson.
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