Outdoor performances given green light for July 11

10 Jul 2020

Indoor performance pilots with the London Symphony Orchestra will shape further reopening plans amid concerns about the safety of singing, brass and wind instruments.

Audiences ‘would consider returning’ to socially distanced venues

Front of a cinema in Mount Pleasant Michigan with banners 'No close encounters of any kind' and 'Mr Smith goes to wash his hands'
03 Jul 2020

A new survey shows audiences are more likely to attend events with seat spacing and scheduled arrival times, but ticket sales remain frighteningly low.

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.

Grant package will ease pressure on London’s studios

10 Jul 2020

Artist studios across the capital are to benefit from £1.6m of emergency funding from the Mayor’s Culture at Risk Business Support Fund. 82 artist studios across 18 London boroughs will receive support from the fund, and will in turn be able to continue supporting a community of 11,500 creatives practitioners.

The fund for creative workspaces, which includes an investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies, is delivered by the Creative Land Trust and designed to help studios the that are suffering the most from the near shut-down of the culture and creative industries. 80 per cent of those receiving funding are led by women, people from a BAME background, the LGBTQ+ community or people with disabilities.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The devastating impact of COVID-19 means London’s unparalleled culture and creative industries need our support now, more than ever. These artists make a significant contribution to our economy and life in our capital, but they have seen their income diminished by the near total shutdown of their industries. I’m delighted that through our Fund we are helping to ensure that thousands of our talented artists still have a place to work, so that they can play their part in our city’s recovery.”


ACE grants just one third of emergency funds, holds on to £56.9m

London Symphony Orchestra
09 Jul 2020

The funder says 95 National Portfolio Organisations that applied “were not able to demonstrate they needed urgent funding”.

Assistant roles undervalued in the cultural sector, research finds

09 Jul 2020

Executive and administrative assistants in the cultural sector are a vital but overlooked section of the workforce, according to researchers at the University of Oxford.

Their report Supporting Leadership calls for action from the sector to ensure the expertise of support staff can be recognised and working practices improved for the benefit of all.     

Contributions from staff at more than 60 UK museums, libraries, heritage sites, and arts and performance organisations reveals the importance of support roles in enabling and facilitating dynamic cultural sector leadership. But the often ‘invisible’ work that goes on behind-the-scenes means there is a danger that this work isn’t appropriately valued.

Some support staff describe their contribution as ‘invisible’, they are ‘seen as unskilled’ and their roles can be ‘a dumping ground’. Consequently there is a high rate of turnover among support staff, with only 31% of administrators in the cultural sector seeing their roles as a long-term commitment (of more than three years). A lack of professional recognition drives the discontent, with certain roles seen as more important than others.

The report makes recommendations for greater clarity in defining assistant roles, for raising awareness of administrative work across institutions, and for creating a culture where staff feel empowered to take ownership of their work. It provides practical advice for leaders and support staff with advice series of tools focusing on role descriptions, working environments, recruitment processes, and development pathways.

Study will examine Covid impact on cultural participation

09 Jul 2020

A new research project is set to “explore and demonstrate the role of innovation, collaboration and participation in shaping cultural experiences during the current pandemic”. The aim of the project, a joint initiative involving the UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council and the DCMS, is to provide an evidence base to inform cultural recovery, renewal and future growth. The findings will be used to determine how the sector can best harness new digital and immersive technologies to engage and diversify audiences.
The 12-month project will:
● Investigate the differential impact of Covid-19 across the UK’s cultural and creative sectors, positive and negative, looking at opportunities as well as the disruption and threats
● Advise on measures that may be required to restore public confidence in cultural participation and the return to venues
● Explore the impact of the pandemic on new technology-enabled distribution platforms, online cultural participation/consumption, and user preferences across a range of different audience types.
It will be driven by an Expert Advisory Panel involving leaders from across the arts, cultural, creative and higher education sectors, co-chaired by Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of Arts and Humanities Research Council, and Neil Mendoza, Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal.

Research reveals limited appeal of digital broadcasts

09 Jul 2020

Surveys across a number of US cities have revealed that 59% of cultural organisations’ audiences have not watched any digital broadcasts or other digital content offered or recommended by the arts organisation they are connected with. These findings were despite most of the content being free of charge, and only 13% of respondents saying they weren’t aware of it.

The art form streamed most was music, with 52% of respondents saying they had viewed an orchestra’s digital content at least once.

When asked whether they would buy tickets to live-streamed programmes to watch at home if venues aren’t open, the average response was around or just below ‘somewhat likely’.

The data is drawn from hundreds of organisations participating in the Audience Outlook Monitor study, and Alan Brown of WolfBrown, which developed the study, said: “Bear in mind that people who respond to surveys tend to be the most loyal and committed audiences. So, the fact that a majority of them don’t engage with digital content at all, or aren’t aware of what’s being offered, strikes me as a little disconcerting… I encourage you to think creatively about what the live stream experience looks like, and how to position it as a distinctly different value-added experience, so that the live stream experience is not just seen as a poor man’s substitute for a live experience, but as a premium educational experience.”

Free courses, resources and new ideas show The Way Forward

08 Jul 2020

Using cultural spaces as classrooms… a new chat room for dance professionals… 360° virtual reality events… the Drive-In experience… All this and much much more, including free courses, webinars and resources that will help the sector move forward as the ‘new normal’ approaches. Read and keep reading The Way Forward - AP’s regular update of new initiatives and ideas that will light the path ahead.

Talent drain set to begin as parents and carers look for alternative careers

08 Jul 2020

Campaign group PiPA (Parents and Carers in Performing Arts) has found that workers with caring responsibilities are considering abandoning their careers in the sector due to uncertainty about job prospects. The group warns that the “loss of talent from the industry is a clear risk” and will “drive people to seek employment elsewhere”.

Unprecedented £1.57 billion package to save the arts from the brink

Royal Opera House view of the stage from a balcony seat
07 Jul 2020

Sector leaders have responded with a mixture of relief and gratitude for a Government package that will secure the medium-term future of many organisations on the brink of permanent closure, but others believe the announcement leaves many questions unanswered.

Red lights spell danger for theatres

07 Jul 2020

Theatre buildings across the UK have been lit up in red to draw attention to their plight - staff unable to return to work for the foreseable future, despite lock-down restrictions being lifted across many other sectors. Guildford's YvonneArnaud theatre tweeted: "We welcome the government's rescue package, & join venues & friends around the country tonight in the @LightItInRed campaign, to show that we can't wait to reopen as soon as we can. #LightitinRed"

Bus factory to become creative centre

07 Jul 2020

Creative industry professionals plan to turn a Nottingham bus factory into a business centre and arts event space.

They say the centre, which could create 19 new jobs, will focus on digital arts "in line with the Arts Council's Let's Create Strategy for 2020 -2030".

There will be a main gallery space, studios and co-working and rentable offices.

The team behind the idea includes nightclub operator and fashion and design tutor Ian Gardiner; Patricia Gardiner, community project producer; film producer Anna Griffin, local gig and events promoter Will Robinson; arts festival producer Lukas Cole; and Avarni Bilan, producer and digital marketer.

'Socially distanced' concert arena for Newcastle

07 Jul 2020

Promoters plan to launch the UK's first socially distanced concert venue in Newcastle this summer.

SSD Concerts and production company Engine No 4 say Unity Arena will provide a "festival experience" with up to 2,500 attendees on 2-metre-spaced viewing platforms. Food and drinks will be available to pre-order and there will be a one-way system for using toilet facilities.

The venue will be located at Newcastle Racecourse, about 4 miles from the city centre.

Netflix donates £500k to theatre practitioners

07 Jul 2020

Netflix has donated £500,000 to help theatre practitioners who are unable to work and ineligible for Government aid.

Beneficiaries of the Theatre Artists Fund, a joint venture by UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT), will get £1000 in grant money.

Anne Mensah, Vice President of UK Original Series at Netflix, said British theatre remains a "vital cultural force".

"Creativity is all about collaboration, and we are deeply concerned by the challenges our friends in the theatre now face, especially in the regions, and the likely consequences for the diverse voices and stories at the heart of our culture."

Welsh Culture and Race Taskforce launched

06 Jul 2020

The collective seeks to influence decision makers and put race at the forefront of the sector’s recovery, but the Arts Council of Wales says it won’t fund a group ‘set up to lobby us’.

Scottish Government makes first move to save the performing arts

06 Jul 2020

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced a Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund that will “meet the immediate needs” of organisations and freelance workers attempting to survive the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Expand tax credits for Covid-19 recovery, MPs told

The scultpture 'Fried Eggs for Breakfast' at Dundee Contemporary Arts, which is a member of Future Arts Centres
03 Jul 2020

Wider application of the Theatre Tax Relief scheme would allow arts centres to reopen “within weeks”, a coalition of venues says.


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