Thank you to everyone who has contacted me with concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on our theatres . I completely agree about the huge contribution that the theatre industry makes to our economy and society. I studied performing arts at university, so this is a subject close to my heart.
As I’m sure you will be aware, yesterday the Prime Minister announced that theatres and concert halls will be able to reopen from July 4th, but will not be able to put on any live shows. It seems to me that this bizarre compromise will do little to prevent redundancies in the industry.
Jo Stevens MP, our Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (and her predecessor Tracy Brabin) has been calling on the Government for many weeks to urgently announce a package of support for theatres. I know that some, such as the Theatre Royal Plymouth, are already facing closure, which is absolutely heart-breaking. My colleagues and I will continue to do all we can to push the Government on this. We cannot afford to lose these vital cultural venues.
Yesterday the Government hinted that more support would be made available to theatre and other performing arts venues and I very much hope this means we will receive welcome news soon. In the meantime, I have tabled a written parliamentary question asking about support for venues which cannot operate while social distancing remains in place. A number of colleagues have tabled other questions on this.