As much as the theatre industry is very grateful for the government’s emergency funding, this is still not enough. The government fails to comprehend that our industry makes £1.28 billion annually as a whole. We cater on a local, national and international scale. Our audiences and productions are varied. We produce some of the best theatre in the world, therefore perhaps you should think more about what we bring to the UK’s culture and economy rather than dismissing our industry as non-viable.
Telling our industry professionals who have spent years training, working and building a career to retrain and find another job is an insult. Not just to the theatre industry, but also to music, film, TV and all other art forms that bring well over £100 billion into our country. It makes them seem not worth saving and their career uncreditable to the UK government.
The furlough scheme should be applied to those who are not able to return to work due to the coronavirus. Either that or come up with a new initiative which will save the theatres, like ‘Night Out to Help Out’, theatres re-open and the government subsidize the theatre’s seats that are going to be empty due to social distancing. Same for music and any art venue.
Any of this rather than ignoring or demeaning an industry which has supplied entertainment to our nation for centuries.
The Scottish government have supplied as much as they can with the powers they have in terms of funding, however, due to the fact Westminster hold the rights to budget allowance, there is nothing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish government can do.
Therefore, we need to look down to Westminster at Rishi Sunak and the Conservative government to take appropriate action to save the theatre and arts industries.