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Theatres Trust: 'We are seeking urgent clarification whether theatre rehearsals can continue'

The Trust has reacted to the government's lockdown news

© Photo by Travel Coffee Book from StockSnap

Umbrella organisation and campaigning body the Theatres Trust has responded to the upcoming plans for a second English lockdown, revealed last night by the UK government.

In a statement, Jon Morgan, director of the group, said: "While we understand the absolute necessity of protecting lives at this critical time, Theatres Trust is disappointed that theatres will have to close for a further month during the November lockdown. Many theatres were only just managing to reopen or were preparing to reopen with Christmas shows and this news will come as a further blow to an already struggling sector.

"We are seeking urgent clarification whether theatre rehearsals, alongside television and film production, can continue as without this Christmas shows will not go ahead. This further setback means theatres will need to further delay their reopenings and many will still be unable to do so viably under the three tier system. While we are grateful that the government has extended the furlough scheme for a further month to cover lockdown, theatres still need further sector specific support beyond the end of November to ensure this latest blow does not lead to more closures."

As it stands, while entertainment venues are closed, it is unclear if rehearsal spaces count as workplaces, as they could feasibly be, or if they would also be deemed to be "venues". The semantic issue is likely to be resolved by further DCMS guidance, mentioned by the Culture Secretary on Twitter last night, that is said to be coming next week.

Sector-specific financial support for the massive freelance workforce that works in the arts has not been provided at all during the lockdown.

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