Keep reading ... the Way Forward

14 Jun 2020

Interested in new ideas and opportunities to lead you out of lockdown and beyond? AP's new feature - The Way Forward - is being updated DAILY by our amazing volunteers, Robert Sanderson and Margaret Levin. Don't miss out!

Drama School head falls on his sword

Central School of Speech and Drama
12 Jun 2020

Professor Gavin Henderson has apologised for “the lived experiences of students of colour” and his racist comments during his time as Principal of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Director steps down to accelerate diversity plans

Lois Keidan with Bonzo, her dog
12 Jun 2020

Lois Keidan is leaving the Live Art Development Agency – which has an exclusively white workforce – to help address “critical issues of representation”.

Petitions call for the renaming of Hertfordshire arts complex

11 Jun 2020

The trustees of The Rhodes Arts Complex are preparing to rename the venue. Three petitions have called for the organisation to dissociate itself from former British businessman and politician Cecil Rhodes who founded the southern African territory of Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe, on the grounds that his "racist and white supremacist motives 'will never represent the views of the people of Bishop's Stortford'". The organisation was already planning to change the name following its conversion to a charitable incorporated organisation, a process which began five months ago.

‘New normal’ emerges in GCSE and A level arts uptake

girl sitting at a desk with a paintbrush in hand
11 Jun 2020

The proportion of school pupils taking music and drama at GCSE looks set to stabilise around 20% lower than in 2015, when a dramatic slide in uptake began.

BA to dispose of art works to raise emergency cash

11 Jun 2020

Auction house Sotheby’s has been asked by British Airways to value works of art that have been displayed for decades in its lounges and at its headquarters. The airline is aiming to sell at least 10 works from its collection of mostly British art following a suggestion by staff that this would be a way of  saving money to help the company survive the Coronavirus crisis.

Recovery of the cultural sector must be 'fully inclusive' of disabled artists

10 Jun 2020

Progress made towards the inclusion of Disability Arts in the UK "must not falter in this moment of crisis", says Disability Collaborative Network (DCN) in an open letter to Oliver Bowden MP, Secretary of Culture, and devolved UK Culture Ministers.

The letter warns: “The pandemic impacts on livelihoods, health, social care and creativity are all frighteningly magnified for disabled people. Worse, most disabled people operating in the creative industries are self-employed and deeply concerned about their future as a consequence of SEISS ending in August. Many disabled artists are facing long term shielding, a total loss of income, compromised independent living and the risk of invisibility in wider society.”

140 individuals and organisations have signed the letter, which says “the industry that closed in March, simply didn't work for many of us” and calls for the renewal and recovery of the wider cultural industries to be “guided by a fully inclusive approach informed by disabled creative professionals to strengthen the accessibility of the sector and implement the learning from this crisis about home working and online access”. 

DCN is a member of a new Disability Arts Alliance #WeShallNotBeRemoved which was launched less than a month ago already has over 250 members.  

Dig unearths remains of England's first purpose-built playhouse

10 Jun 2020

An archaeological dig, ordered by Tower Hamlets council before giving the go-ahead for a development of new flats, has uncovered the remains of the Red Lion playhouse - an Elizabethan venue thought to be the earliest purpose-built playhouse in Britain. It is belived that the structure found in East London was a prototype for a theatre that staged plays by a young William Shakespeare.

New home for producing theatre in Reading

10 Jun 2020

Reading’s only year-round producing theatre will take up residence in a permanent home next year, led by Founder and Artistic Director Paul Stacey and Executive Director Nick Thompson. The move follows a fundraising campaign which has reached over £500,000.

Founded in 2012, Reading Rep Theatre will open in a new venue in Spring 2021. The venue will provide facilities for the company to continue producing its critically acclaimed work and deliver outreach opportunities to those with least access to the arts.

The company is currently based in a 60- seat studio, but the new home is being converted from a 1920s Salvation Army building and is being designed by David Hughes, the architect of the award-winning Park Theatre. Preparing to serve Reading’s population of over 200,000 people, it will include a 168-seat theatre, a permanent education and learning centre, backstage areas, front of house facilities and a café/bar.

Take our lead from Europe, say Music Directors

10 Jun 2020

The UK should copy what has already been proved to work by Mainland Europe orchestras, rather than starting from the beginning led by "people not from the performing arts making the decisions", say Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director of London Symphony Orchestra, and Sir Mark Elder, Music Director of Hallé Orchestra. In an open letter they warn of the " real possibility of a devastated landscape" on the other side of the pandemic and point out that if orchestras do survive they will "face insuperable obstacles to remain solvent in our new reality."

Redundancy announcements gather pace

Theatre by the Lake
10 Jun 2020

Furloughed arts employees across the country are being warned of job losses as the next stage of the furlough scheme is deemed “not fit for purpose for the theatre industry”.

Racism accusations trigger pledges of change

black and white aerial view of an audience by the side of the stage at The Almeida
10 Jun 2020

Plans are being drawn up for actions to improve diversity in the arts, though a long history of similar initiatives across the UK suggests that progress will continue to be slow.

Community acts to preserve Liverpool music studios

09 Jun 2020

The City Council is being asked to classify Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios as a ‘community asset’, which would recognise its community and economic significance. Developers want permission to convert the building that houses the studio complex and two neighbouring venues into luxury flats. Artists and producers are supporting efforts by the Friends Of Parr Street to preserve the studios, which were purpose built and are seen as a "crucial part of the city’s musical legacy".

Warning signs at Fairfield Halls

09 Jun 2020

Despite reopening only last September after a controversial 3-year £40m refurbishment, the venue operators of Farifield Halls, BHLive, have cancelled their five-year piano hire agreement at short notice. Nine, including two grand pianos, have been returned to their makers. BHLive is a Bournemouth-based exhibition and leisure centre operator and manages the Halls on behalf of the Council, earning revenues exclusively from ticket sales, events and catering.

Arts Index sets out 10-year trends

National Lottery sticker possibly on a shop door
09 Jun 2020

The sources of money available to the cultural sector have changed significantly over the past decade but the overall picture suggests the sector coped with the changes until the Covid-19 crisis.

New name for Colston Hall to be announced in the autumn

08 Jun 2020

Bristol Music Trust will be revealing a new name for Colston Hall in the autumn and in the meanwhile will be removing its external signage from the building. Following protests, the Trust announced three years ago that it would be changing the name as part of a major refurbishment project. An in-depth consultation was carried out with over 4,000 people from communities across the city and the new name was due to be announced in Spring 2020, but the pandemic has delayed the process.

In an attempt to distance itself from any association with its namesake, the 17th Century MP Edward Colston who earned much of his money through the slave trade, the Trust has issued a statement pointing out that the Hall was built 150 years after Colston died and was not founded with any of his money: "The current name does not reflect our values as a progressive, forward-thinking and open arts organisation – we want it to be representative of the city, a beacon of its values of hope, diversity and inclusion."

Bailout plans progress for sectors whose markets have collapsed

The Old Vic at nightime
07 Jun 2020

A Cultural Investment Participation Scheme offering repayable finance could kickstart the cultural sector’s economy under proposals being drawn up for Government to take a quasi-equity stake in theatres.

Two-metre social distancing is "overkill" for musicians

07 Jun 2020

To help musicians make a living, the Musicians Union is proposing that permissions should be granted for "enhanced busking" - allowing spectators to make contactless payments for outdoor performances. Union leader Horace Trubridge is also calling for the two-metre social distancing rule to be relaxed for musicians, saying this distance is "particularly unnecessary for string and percussion instrumentalists, as opposed to singers, as they could wear masks."

The Way Forward

05 Jun 2020

To keep the sector up-to-date with what others are doing in preparation for the 'new normal', AP has launched a new feature, The Way Forward. Each week we will be keeping our eyes open for the most interesting initiatives and opportunities that can enlighten, inform and inspire us all as the post-lockdown, post-Covid world approaches. Continually updated, it is on open access to all. Email press releases to if you have news to share.

News Comment: #BlackoutTuesday

Man singing and wearing t-shirt saying 'love music hate racism'
05 Jun 2020

Matt Griffiths says the music industry is a top-heavy machine that no longer encourages the diversity and originality that once helped it thrive.


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