Why we are campaigning for our live entertainment venues - and how you can help

By Peter Ormerod
Friday, 14th August 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 14th August 2020, 10:31 am

They’re the places we go to laugh, dance, listen and learn about the world.

And they face a crisis, the like of which many have not seen before.

Countless theatres, concert halls and other arts venues across Britain are in dire financial difficulty. And if they are forced to close, we will all lose out.

That’s why we are proud to run this major campaign, The Show Must Go On. We know how important these places are to our villages, towns and cities. We know what they mean to so many of you - the memories they stir, the creativity they inspire, the financial support they provide to our businesses and workers.

The campaign is supported by Theatres Trust

The government recently announced it is spending £1.57 billion to support the industry. But as vast as that sum may sound, it is unlikely to be enough.

And with so much of the arts world focused on London, there is a danger that swathes of the country will be overlooked.

We want to make sure our venues get the help they need – wherever they are.

Our campaign has been endorsed by the Theatres Trust, the national charity that campaigns to protect theatre buildings for current and future generations.

Jon Morgan, director of the Theatres Trust, said: “Theatres Trust’s mission is to protect theatres for everyone, which means ensuring that everyone can access live performance where they live.

“Away from the bright lights of London’s West End, the UK has hundreds of theatres that are loved by their communities, but these theatres are going through a tough time due to the pandemic.

“We are delighted to support The Show Must Go On to highlight the importance of the UK’s brilliant local theatres.”

The Royal and Derngate Theatre in Northampton was lit in red to highlight the plight of the live entertainment industry. Photo: James Dacre

Our campaign aims to make sure the needs of our venues and the people who depend on them get heard - and that they get the help they need and deserve.

That includes getting the message across loud and clear to our politicians and all who have the power to make a big difference.

But it also involves looking at what we can all do to try and make sure that these venues survive.

These places have given us so much in the past. In these uncertain times, we owe it to them to try to make sure they have a future.

How you can help

The Theatres Trust suggests the following:

* Make a donation to your favourite local venue or, if you had tickets booked for a cancelled show, donate the money back instead of accepting a refund

* Book in advance for any shows your local venue has on sale for next year or if your local theatre offers vouchers, buy those instead

* Support your local venue café or restaurant if it has reopened

*Write to your local MP to tell them how important your local venue is to you

* Share stories about venues on social media - it could be your happy memories of panto or you could repost your theatre’s appeal

* If your favourite venue goes into administration, you could set up or join a campaign group, bringing together everyone in your area who cares about it