'No evidence' of Covid transmission in well-ventilated, socially distanced spaces

24 Nov 2020

The Government has permitted venues to open with up to 50% capacity from early December. What does the science say?

At least £1bn loss expected due to Covid-19: UK Music report

19 Nov 2020

The economic value of music industries reached a £5.8bn high in 2019. Then the "hammer blow" happened.

Europe-wide project aims to create network of minority theatres

04 May 2017

(IN CROATIAN) Five minority theatres in Romania, Italy, Serbia, Albania and Croatia will combine to produce a play and a series of workshops in Spring 2018 using European Union funding.

New York opera security scare after powder sprinkled into orchestra pit

31 Oct 2016

The Metropolitan Opera cancelled a performance during the interval as a safety precaution after somebody sprinkled an unknown powder into the pit.

Library scoops £3,000 in the National Lottery Awards

25 Aug 2016

St Helens Libraries’ Cultural Hubs attracted over 2,000 votes to be named Best Arts Project for its work promoting health and wellbeing.

Cash for visitor economy will boost creative sector in the North East

02 Dec 2020

A £16.5m commitment to the creative and visitor sectors in Tees Valley will be supporting long-term recovery by attracting new events to the region, growing local festivals, encouraging business development and boosting the region’s profile as a visitor destination.

The investment pledge has been made by The Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet in response to a projected 48% loss to Tees Valley’s visitor economy in 2020. 44% of creative, culture, tourism and hospitality businesses have reported that their businesses may have to permanently close, compared with 28% across all sectors.

Five local authorities are set to gain from the investment: Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees. A task force, chaired by Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of ARC Stockton arts centre, will be providing sector-led advice and insight into the challenges and opportunities that businesses in these areas face. She said: “By working collaboratively we can make an even more valuable contribution to our local economy. “Our creative and visitor economies in the Tees Valley are tightly linked so it’s fantastic that this new programme recognises and celebrates that.”

Former car factory to boost creative opportunities in Coventry

01 Dec 2020

A £2.5million creative arts hub in Coventry will provide “a space for future generations of artists and creative engineers”. As well as being home to five of the city’s arts organisations  – Imagineer, Highly Sprung, Media Mania, Open Theatre and Talking Birds - The Daimler Powerhouse will focus primarily on outdoor arts and will deliver training programmes aimed at young people and people with disabilities.  

An arts Lottery grant of £150,000 will enable a Vertical Dance Wall, music and sound facilities, plus essential IT and construction equipment to be embedded in the building, which was the first car factory built in Britain.

NT launches pay-to-view streaming service

01 Dec 2020

The National Theatre is making its archive of filmed plays available on subscription or for a one-off payment through ‘National Theatre At Home’, a new streaming service. This includes plays that have previously been shown in cinemas or were streamed for free at the start of the pandemic.

Plays that haven’t previously been screened will also be available and new titles will be added each month.

Executive director Lisa Burger said the service will continue “as long as it is needed”.

Entrepreneurs drive a new creative space for Nottingham

01 Dec 2020

Plans are taking shape for a three-storey, 7000 sq ft building to become a hub for nurturing fresh talent, offering skills support and collaborative opportunities to artists in Nottingham.

Five entrepreneurs – a venue and club operator, a community project producer, two events promoters and a digital marketeer – have taken on the lease of Fisher Gate Point, which was originally used as a factory for Nottingham’s Green Line buses. “Driven by a shared passion to nurture the creative arts” in the city, they are developing it to become “a place for creatives to test ideas, a seeding environment where they can access skills, knowledge and equipment.”

The building will include two recording studios, workshop rooms, an events space with high-spec sound and light system, a co-working space and a garden meeting space.

University sets out to achieve greater public engagement in music

01 Dec 2020

Aberystwyth University is consulting with the public about its music provision, aiming to spread the benefits of its facilities and expertise more widely in the local community. Looking beyond Covid, the University says it want to provide a varied and stimulating musical experience and share this with as many people as possible. The outcome of the consultation will be used to draft a vision statement.

Dr Anwen Jones, Pro-Vice Chancellor at Aberystwyth University said: “Whether you’re a musician or someone who loves music of any kind, we want to hear your voice… We’re open to engaging with new styles, new musical modes and methodologies and opening up new vistas.”  

New Edinburgh arts centre to offer opportunity to local artists

01 Dec 2020

A new community arts centre in the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh will be based in a 19th century Gothic church.
A partnership with the diocese of Edinburgh will mean the new Centre, known as Craigmillar Now, will be able to support contemporary local artists and their work, and present a programme of residencies, workshops, exhibitions and events. Residents in the area are helping to develop a local archive and the venue will also provide a home for this.

Pantos on ice as Tier 3 areas announced

26 Nov 2020

Several Lottery-funded Christmas pantomimes may have to be cancelled following news of England's Tier 3 areas.

Manchester Opera House, Bristol Hippodrome, Theatre Royal Newcastle, Regent Theatre Stoke on Trent, Theatre Royal Nottingham and Birmingham Hippodrome are unable to hold in-person performances based on the new restrictions.

Lottery operator Camelot has been approached for comment.

Sector associations expressed their "consternation" that live performances will be banned in many parts of England.

Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan described it as a "terrible blow" for organisations that had planned pantos and other shows.

"They will have invested in rehearsals and other preparations for reopening and will now find themselves unable to recoup those costs, facing further financial strain in what has already been a catastrophic year."

Musicians' Union General Secretary Horace Trubridge said the tier allocations make the prospect of work for many of its members "even more distant".

"The lack of consistency and common sense is glaring. These new tier system restrictions need a radical rethink if the live sector is going to see any recovery in the short to medium term."

Lottery sales recovery masks initial impact of Spring lockdown

25 Nov 2020

Urgent interventions made by Camelot to minimise the effects of Covid-19 on National Lottery sales succeeded in reversing an initial 18% hit to income at the start of the pandemic. By the end of September, sales for the first six months of the financial year 2020/21 were down by just 1.7% – a decrease of £67m. Online activity accounted for over 42% of all sales, growing by £455m to reach £1,619m.

The knock-on effect on National Lottery Good Causes was also minimised. £863.7m was raised during this period – £13.1m (1.5%) less than the same period last year. 20% of Good Causes money goes to arts and cultural activity, meaning a loss of just £2.6m to the sector so far this year, compared with last.

Announcing the results, Camelot CEO Nigel Railton declared the company was “enormously proud of this set of results” in light of “an unprecedented situation – with a sharp decline in sales, retail uncertainty and our EuroMillions game in jeopardy, as some of our partner countries were under strict lockdowns.”


Fears grow for the future of Hazlitt Theatre

25 Nov 2020

Local MP and former DCMS Minister Helen Grant has stepped in to urge Maidstone Council to save the Hazlitt Theatre. The Council is preparing to end its contract with the management company Parkwood Theatres in order to “bring the building back under council control so we can better manage the finances around it”.

Council leader Martin Cox said they would “review the re-opening of the theatre, under a new arrangement at a time when it is viable and sustainable”. But the decision by the Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee to decide the future of the venue behind closed doors has raised concerns that it will be closing for good.

Over 7,000 people have signed a petition calling for the theatre to reopen and the MP has backed calls for the decision to be reversed and the issue put on ice until January, to “explore the options and take action as needed."

Staff snubbed as Culture Recovery Fund fails to save jobs at Fairfield Halls

25 Nov 2020

BHLive, operator of council-owned Fairfield Halls in the London borough of Croydon, made the last of their staff at the venue redundant at the end of October, just days after it was awarded a £2.5m Culture Recovery grant.

30 senior, full-time jobs there have been made redundant by BHLive since August, in addition to the 80 part-time and casual roles that were terminated in June.

Fairfield Halls reopened in September 2019 following a £43m refurbishment, which opened 6 months late and significantly over its £30m budget.

BHLive was awarded the contract to run the venue in 2017, but questions remain as to whether it has actually signed the operating lease for the building, which includes a 1,801-seat concert hall, the 755-seat Ashcroft Theatre and the Arnhem Gallery which is also used for standing concerts of up to 400.

A council scrutiny report reveals visitor numbers between opening and the end of December last year were 88,000 ticket sales - 26% occupancy against a business plan target of 45%.

Spending Review 2020 offers slim support for the arts

25 Nov 2020

The Government will more than double DCMS' budget but the extra funding all but vanishes in 2022.

Musical learning should be recognised as part of formal education, says Union

25 Nov 2020

The Musicians' Union is calling on Ministers to issue “more pragmatic and clearer guidance” on out-of-school music learning under the new tiered restrictions that will apply after 2nd December at the end of England’s current lockdown. The Union is contesting the government’s current classification of music classes or drama tuition as “extracurricular and therefore inessential”.

It highlights inconsistencies between Cabinet Office guidance, which bars pupils from leaving their homes for music tuition, and the Department for Education’s guidance, which states that music lessons in private homes can resume if there is no viable alternative. The Union’s letter to Ministers says: “Taken together, these two documents suggest that lessons are permitted only in pupils’ own homes, since pupils are not allowed to leave their homes to attend lessons elsewhere (limited exemptions aside). This position does not support the Government’s desire to reduce Covid-19 transmission, because teachers’ homes/studios and private music schools – where Covid-secure measures have been in place for months – are likely to be just as safe if not safer than pupils’ own homes.”

Its recommendations include “reasonable exemptions to online teaching” where exams or university/college entrance is being prepared for; when a high level of musical learning is being undertaken; if there is a risk of exclusion because of digital poverty; where there is an adverse mental health risk to learners; and if learners have additional needs that cannot be met online.

Science Museums to scale down in anticipation of longer-term losses

25 Nov 2020

With a £23m drop in income expected for 2020/21 and a predicted shortfall of £15m next year, the Science Museum Group has announced more measures to help mitigate losses. These will include moving to five-day opening outside of holiday periods and up to 95 redundancies initially.

As well as “significant cost-saving measures already taken and others planned” there will be a six-month strategic review of the organisation’s operations and the scale of its activities will be reduced further.

Emergency funding from the Government, the Job Retention Scheme and revenues from “loyal supporters and partners” have kept it going so far, but self-generated income accounts for half its annual turnover. The museum believes ongoing restrictions and the impact on international tourism mean revenues will remain severely depressed for some years.

Five-year investment in Manchester communities project

25 Nov 2020

Oglesby Charitable Trust will invest £150,000 over five years to help develop creative projects in Manchester.

SICK! Productions will use the funding on a 10-year programme addressing mental health, social inequities, end of life care, disability and gender - topics it says have become ever more relevant amid the impact of coronavirus on communities.

Projects will be co-developed with locals and a programme of international commissions will bring artists into Manchester to work with communities in Moston and Harpurhey.

SICK! Productions Creative Producer Steve Vickers said he wanted to shine a light on the areas, which are not normally considered hubs of artistry.

"There’s a pool of talent here that can be drawn on to become a part of Manchester’s cultural offer... Our job is to highlight this with a genuine long-term commitment.”

The trust's commitment is expected to leverage another £700,000 over the project's lifetime.

No date for Culture Recovery Fund loans

25 Nov 2020

DCMS says it does not have a date for announcing successful applicants for the last rounds of the Culture Recovery Fund.

Loans of more than £3m and a capital grants programme are yet to be publicly confirmed despite award applicants being told they would hear the initial outcome of their applications mid-October, and Arts Council England saying the finance would be distributed before December 2020.

Asked whether it had a date in mind, a DCMS spokesperson said "a date for planning purposes" would be shared as soon as the department was able.

Additionally, Arts Council England has rejected a Freedom of Information Act request to disclose the number of unsuccessful applicants to the funding rounds that have already been announced.

The funder says it intends to make that information publicly available soon.



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