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'This Is No Pantomime' campaign launched to highlight plight of the arts

The new messaging was released by the "Scene - Change" group that coated venues in tape earlier this year

This Is No Pantomime
© Max Jones

A brand new campaign set up by Scene Change is responding to the Culture Secretary's so-called "Operation Sleeping Beauty".

Titled "This Is No Pantomime", the scheme said today: "This is an urgent wake-up call. It's about theatre and the communities it entertains. It's about cancellation and closures. Without our government providing ongoing sector-specific support, we are witnessing the collapse of our world-leading culture industry. Built up over centuries, killed off in a matter of months."

"Despite the government's announcement that theatres can now re-open, indoor productions and live performances are just not financially viable whilst social distancing is in place. With Christmas on the horizon, and the majority of pantomimes also now cancelled, theatres will be falling desperately short of the revenue required to see them through 2021, and will soon be left facing even more redundancies and closures."

The poster being put up in London
© Max Jones

"The impact on the 200 000 self-employed theatre workers is even more devastating: 33 per cent have received no government support at all since lockdown began in March, and there are few prospects for work for the remainder of this year and long into 2021. Many of those doing the hundreds of jobs on our poster are leaving the industry right now, and these skills will take years to rebuild.

"34 million theatre tickets were sold in 2018. Around 3 million of those tickets were for a pantomime. It is too late for this year's Dames and Sleeping Beauties. Without urgent, increased support, our theatres will remain dark, the seats remain empty, the stories untold, long into the future: this is no pantomime."

Today Andrew Lloyd Webber warned that the sector is in need of a reopening date and further support to be able to survive a winter where the vast majority of venues remain closed.