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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update to UK Theatre Members – 17 March

The following has been received from UK Theatre:

Dear UK Theatre Members,

We are acutely aware of the devastating impact that the closure of theatres and productions will have.  Although we probably all suspected that closure was imminent, we were expecting to be given clear direction by government and not forced into an impossible situation yesterday afternoon, with regards to the duty of care to our audiences and our workforce.

We are urgently seeking clarification from government in terms of time scale (how long the government think these social distancing measures will be in place), clarity in terms of the enforcement of the closure (which some need for their insurance claims), and crucially what support (financial and other) they can give the sector.

Good, rapid work has taken place with the unions – and the combined Industrial Relations Committee for SOLT and UK Theatre will meet by conference call at 2.30pm this afternoon, followed by more discussion with the unions, and then a recommendation to both boards will follow for adoption and communication.  We anticipate this being ready by Wednesday evening.

Economic impact – survey.
Please help us to best represent your interests by completing our survey which will be sent shortly to your senior team to complete. This will be about the wider impacts of COVID-19 on your business.

Theatrical charities
In order to support our workforce at this unprecedented time – we have brought together all the major charities who support individuals in the theatre industry. A website giving clear information about how to access care and support, either emotional or financial, is being created as a centralised way of assisting the industry and ensuring as many people as possible are assisted through this difficult time. The site will be available to link to any other site as a way of signposting available support. The site will be live on Wednesday and if you have anything to add please contact Harriet.

Press and communications
There has been huge amount of press following the announcement yesterday and we are proactively going out today demanding clarity from government.

Julian was on Radio 5 Live this morning and is scheduled for other BBC interviews in the hours ahead.  We will also be pulling together a number of spokespeople to advocate on behalf of the industry over the coming days.

We will be issuing an updated statement giving more clarity around what the industry needs from government and how our audiences can support us through this difficult period, as well as further clarification in terms of refunds as we appreciate that policies are not universal.

We will also be discussing with the press and marketing teams in our organisations on how we as an industry can entertain and stay connected to our audiences. WDW will be assisting us during this period.

The chairs of the theatre APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) are working with the APPG’s for other sectors in the arts to raise our issues directly with Ministers as well.

The Theatre Helpline
The Theatre Helpline is a free and confidential email and phone (0800 915 4617) service available to all theatre industry workers.

Comments/concerns and questions
Please continue to email

Scottish Government – advice to organisers of mass events
Please view the published advise here.

Sign up to attend the online briefing this week:

Press and communications
A reminder that we ask that members share with us any announcements that they plan to make with regards to the Coronavirus.

Comments/concerns and questions
Please continue to email

UK Theatre