Dear SOLT and UK Theatre members,
Thank you to those who took part in our recent webinars. We have engaged with over 1500 people in the industry and hope we have been able to provide further support and clarity. We have a thorough understanding of the issues our sector faces and the groups of people who will currently not benefit for either of the government’s support schemes and are lobbying constantly to make our case heard.
Please continue to submit questions to the CEO office and we will come back to you.
Business support grant funding – guidance for businesses
Guidance has been released today (1 April) for businesses setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). This includes eligibility and details of how the grants will be provided. The guidance applies to England only.
We have sent a number of Parliamentary Questions to the Lib Dem Lords to put to government. These included some of the issues we still seek clarification on, including interim support for freelancers and business rates for all theatre businesses.
Treasury Select Committee
We submitted a second round of evidence to the Committee. This focused specifically on freelancers.
NI, Wales, Scotland and England
We had a call with the theatre bodies in the four countries to see what else we needed to and could work on collectively. This follows on from the joint letter sent last week to those responsible for culture across the countries.
Theatre Helpline – usage
Our Theatre Helpline is now receiving the same number of calls each day that it usually receives each month. We are working closely with the service provider to ensure they have up to date information and support in order to deal with people’s concerns. As a reminder, this is a free and completely confidential sign-posting service available to anyone working in the theatre industry and was set up by UK Theatre and SOLT 2 years ago to provide general support to the sector.
For a limited time only NCRQ are offering their Safety for Managers online qualification free of charge. NCRQ Safety for Managers is a two-day online qualification that is suitable for managers and supervisors in any sector. Delegates will gain nationally recognised qualification to help manage operations and teams safely once everyone returns to work. Sign up here.
One of the questions we had outstanding was on Gift Aid. We are pleased to see this issue has been raised in Parliament and answered by the Treasury: Theatres: Coronavirus Lord Smith of Finsbury To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, if any, to allow theatres and other cultural venues to automatically be able to claim Gift Aid when patrons agree to donate to the venue the value of their tickets for an event cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lord Agnew of Oulton (Con): Theatres and other cultural venues recognised as charities by HMRC can claim Gift Aid on freely given donations, as opposed to payments for goods or services; such as admission tickets. These charities can claim Gift Aid on the value of tickets for cancelled events if the patrons have agreed not to be refunded for the cost of the ticket and agree for the same amount to be treated as a donation. Additionally, the charity will also need to make sure the patrons have made a Gift Aid declaration for their donations to qualify for Gift Aid, confirming that they have, or will have, paid enough tax to cover the amount the charity will claim on their donations.
A reminder that as of Monday 16 March 2020 all theatres have been required by government to close to audiences until further notice. Please see this link for further information.There may be occasions where having access to this information is important in discussions with contracted parties or insurance companies.
Do you have theatre people can watch from home?
Official London Theatre are listing all ways to watch theatre from home and promoting this via our social media channels. Please send all updates to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion. We are also planning to repurpose the press night diary for people to book their streamings to avoid clashes.
For UK Theatre
Theatre Tokens are listing ways to watch theatre from home for participating venues in the scheme and promoting this via their social media channels and in geo-targeted emails. Please send all updates to email@example.com for inclusion.
Sharing your press statements, campaigns and initiatives
We continue to respond to media enquiries and provide comments on behalf of the industry – if you receive any press requests, please notify us and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the latest SOLT and UK Theatre briefing information.
Theatre charities campaign
Please visit the newly launched website. Please do share and retweet our social posts about this initiative. We would urge anyone looking at fundraising for the industry to partner with one of these existing theatre charities rather than try to set up a new fund.
Please continue to email email@example.com with any questions, comments and/or concerns. There are dedicated pages on both the SOLT and UK Theatre websites where you will find all of our updates.
Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre