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Vicky Featherstone: '34 million people go to the theatre every year – twice the number of the Premier League'

The artistic director of the Royal Court spoke today on BBC Radio 4

Vicky Featherstone
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the Royal Court's artistic director Vicky Featherstone championed the need for further support for the arts during the ongoing pandemic.

"Without income we're nothing. By Christmas, 70 years of government investment will be wiped down the pan. Unless we can find some way to get extra support."

Robert Hastie, artistic director of Sheffield Theatres added that: "We contribute £112 billion to the UK economy. We're a huge success story. In Sheffield the theatres are also a big part of the tourism industry."

All businesses have been affected, Featherstone said, but "34 million people go to the theatre every year – that's twice the number that go to the Premier League". Large-scale gatherings have been adversely affected by the social distancing measures, with no real alternatives available.

"If we can get support to cover this bridge we can come back absolutely flying. What we're asking for and what we need is a drop in the ocean for the overall recovery scheme."

If the furlough scheme gets stopped by October with no further measures in place, Featherstone said, then theatres will run out of money by December.