British theatre bodies appeal for future of stage sector

British theatre bodies appeal

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre have submitted a paper to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), outlining desired proposals for the future of British theatre. This comes at the same time that the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU) have also spoken about the industry.

Last month, Neil Mendoza was appointed as the Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal. Working with the Entertainment and Events Working Group, the paper details assistance the British theatre industry needs in order to maximise recovery.

Among the government proposals as mentioned in the paper, SOLT and UK Theatre have asked for the following:

- Extend the job retention scheme to October for the theatre industry fully funded by the government.

- Identify a unified scheme to support freelancers, many of whom have been unable to claim through the current Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and have been relying on theatrical charities for emergency relief.

- Temporarily extend Theatre Tax Relief, which already encourages investment in theatre productions, and could help recovery.

- Support the thousands of small companies that supply and depend on theatre, from set and costume makers to workshops to casting directors as well as technological suppliers.

- Help fund theatres in creating Covid-19 secure venues, which will require investing in health and safety precautions like PPE, toilet facility changes and increased costs of working.

- Cultural Investment Participation Scheme (CIPS) - many charities are unable to take out loans and existing loan structures are more broadly not fit for our sector; this alternative scheme would allow both charitable and commercial organisations to re-establish.

- Assist local authorities who support local theatre, as any reduction in leisure budgets will lead to more pressure on regional theatres.

More information can be found on UK Theatre's site, available to read here.

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