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Lloyd Webber says arts are at ‘level of no return’

Image caption

Andrew Lloyd Webber spent £100,000 on a pilot present

The arts are on the “point of no return” following injury from the coronavirus pandemic, Lord Lloyd-Webber has stated.

The composer and theatre impresario advised MPs that it could be economically “impossible” to run theatres with social distancing.

“We simply have to get our arts sector back open and running,” he advised the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

“We are at the point of no return.”

In July, Lord Lloyd-Webber staged a live performance on the London Palladium as an experiment to see whether or not socially-distanced performances had been viable.

He spent £100,000 on the pilot undertaking within the hope that it may permit the theatre enterprise to stand up and operating.

He had initially hoped to point out that theatres can open at full capability safely.

However, the live performance needed to happen with a whole bunch of empty seats, to adjust to the federal government’s social distancing pointers.

Image copyright
Andy Paradise

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Lord Lloyd-Webber staged a socially-distanced Beverley Knight live performance on the London Palladium in July

Since then, two main new indoor theatre productions have opened in London, but in addition with restricted viewers capability.

The Talking Heads monologues on the Bridge Theatre and Sleepless on the Troubadour in Wembley Park have not too long ago opened their doorways.

However, most different theatres, together with these within the West End, are but to re-open.

“There comes a point now when we really can’t go on much more,” Lord Lloyd-Webber stated.

  • The socially distanced present should go on – is it enjoyable?
  • Could Sleepless set a blueprint for theatre?

“Theatre is an incredibly labour-intensive business. In many ways putting on a show now is almost a labour of love.

“Very few reveals hit the jackpot in the best way a Hamilton, Lion King or Phantom Of The Opera do.”

He added that theatre productions are “not like cinema, you possibly can’t simply open the constructing”.

The government announced a £1.57bn support package earlier this year to support the arts, which was widely welcomed by the industry.

But Lord Lloyd-Webber stressed the importance of naming a date theatres can re-open.

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Media captionAndrew Lloyd Webber has beforehand stated ‘theatre can’t run with social distancing’

Lord Lloyd-Webber additionally mentioned the “critical” significance of fresh air, including that the air inside his theatres is cleaner than it’s outdoors.

“I am absolutely confident that the air in the London Palladium and in all my theatres is purer than the air outside.”

He additionally recommended he may transfer his manufacturing of Cinderella from the UK to a special location “where people are being a little more helpful”.

It was initially because of open in London’s West End this month.

Rebecca Kane Burton, chief government of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s venues LW Theatres, stated: “We don’t want to open theatres on a socially distanced basis. I have no intention of opening buildings at 30% capacity.”

She stated current months had been “devastating and catastrophic” for the sector.

“It’s a really bad, catastrophic time and we need to find a way out of it,” she stated.

“It was disheartening that the pilot wasn’t later seen as a way to getting full re-opening.”

She added: “We need the time to plan. We can’t switch on theatre like a tap. Christmas is hanging in the balance as we speak.”

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Getty Images

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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has recommended speedy testing may present a part of an answer for theatres

Writing within the Mail on Sunday on the weekend, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden stated the federal government was at the moment engaged on a undertaking which might see some theatre return in time for pantomime season at Christmas.

“My officials are working on ‘Operation Sleeping Beauty’ which aims to bring back some of the magic of theatre for families this Christmas, and I hope to share more progress soon,” he stated.

Mr Dowden additionally recommended speedy testing may assist make sure the return of theatres.

“Testing is the short-term key until we find a working vaccine,” he stated.

“We’re making exciting advances in quick turnaround testing, where on-the-day coronavirus tests could give people who test negative a pass to visit the theatre that evening.”

‘On their knees’

Speaking on the BBC’s information channel, actor Simon Callow stated that form of testing is “the dream.”

“That’s exactly the kind of thing we need to be exploring.”

Lucy Noble, creative and industrial director of the Royal Albert Hall and chair of the National Arenas Association, advised the DCMS Committee there have been “huge consequences to venues not being able to put performances on… serious financial consequences”.

She added: “All venues are on their knees financially… When Oliver Dowden announced the £1.57 billion rescue package, the Royal Albert Hall was hailed as one of the crown jewels that this package would save.

“We have been advised we’re not eligible for any of the grant in any respect.

“We are only eligible to take a loan. We’ve already taken £10 million worth of loans. We’d rather not get into any more debt.”

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