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Culture Secretary: 'We want performances back on as soon as we safely can'

The MP took to Twitter to reiterate the government's position around reopening

Two people talking backstage during a set-up

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has taken to Twitter to assure audiences that there are no broad-strokes plans to cancel performances into next year.

The MP has reiterated his stance on planning to re-open stages as soon as is feasible – stating that "we want performances back on as safely as we can". The MP also said he was working on setting a restart date with "fuller audiences" – though this is not yet set in stone.

Performances were halted when the second lockdown began in early November, with the assumption being that, when the country returns to the "tier" system put in place earlier this autumn, theatres should be able to re-open with social distancing measures in place unless specifically told not to by local authorities. That tier system should therefore return from 2 December, depending on the status of the "R" number.

There are a vast number of socially distanced and Covid secure shows planning to open from early December – you can check out a number of them here.

The news will be heartening for many, especially a significant portion of freelancers who, since they've not qualified for the government-backed SEISS, may be able to find some sort of work sooner than otherwise.

Multiple reports of freelancers being ineligible for the self-employment schemes have not been responded to by the government – with the qualification criteria having remained the same since the scheme was put in place, essentially meaning thousands of trained and skilled workers have been left without direct support during the pandemic.