COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on everyone’s lives, but the arts industry (in particular, theatre staff and performers) have had their livelihoods completely decimated.
The National Theatre has announced that they have had to let over 400 of their casual employees go from August 2020. In an industry that is already competitive, this news is the devastating, but seemingly unavoidable, outcome of the pandemic- as well as the Conservative government’s choice to not fund the British Arts and Culture sector.
The National Theatre, under current government plans, will be closed for the foreseeable future.
A spokesperson commented: “We have committed to paying our casual staff until the end of August, but very sadly- due to the changes in the government Job Retention Scheme- we simply cannot afford to offer financial support beyond that point”.
People have called for the government to respond to questions surrounding why pubs, restaurants and cinemas have been allowed to remain open, despite the lack of social distancing seen on ‘Super Saturday’. Surely, government guidelines are more likely to be followed in a theatre setting, than on a night out?
These are very dark times for the creative industry, and without funding a lot of theatres, even those in the West End will be forced to close.
To help keep The National Theatre alive, you can donate here.
Words by Madelaine Haworth.