Performing arts can resume outdoors on July 11


London theatre news: Thursday 9 July 2020


Coronavirus - Theatres

Performing arts can now take place outdoors from 11 July with a socially distanced audience present, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced today.
Enjoy Summer safely from DCMS

Image courtesy DCMS


It's been a long time coming but now we have the first glimmers of live performance returning for audiences in England.


Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, has today announced that from Saturday 11 July performing arts can take place outdoors with a socially distanced audience present.


That won't be greeted with very much joy by theatres in London's West End, but it does give the green light for the likes of outdoor opera at Glyndebourne, Sussex and plays at Cornwall's Minack Theatre, to proceed.


However, the government says it is also working with the arts sector to pilot a number of small indoor performances with a social distanced audience to help inform plans about how best to get indoor venues back up and running.


But that, of course, still limits the options for theatres in terms of reopening, at least for the time being.


The Culture Secretary said ...


"Our culture, heritage and arts are too precious to lose.


That's why we're protecting venues like theatres from redevelopment if they fall on hard times.


We are also giving further clarity on restart dates in our roadmap back to performance.


From July 11 we can all enjoy performances outdoors with social distancing and we are working hard to get indoor audiences back as soon as we safely can, following pilots.


Our scientific research project will also help speed up this journey.


Combined with our £1.57bn rescue package, this is a comprehensive plan to help our brilliant arts organisations weather the covid storm and bounce back stronger."


The stages for the return to full performances are ...


- Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences and adhering to social distancing guidelines)


- Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes (adhering to social distancing guidelines)


- Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience plus pilots for indoor performances with a limited distance audience from July 11.


- Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (but with a limited distanced audience indoors)


- Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors).


So there is still some time to go before venues can get back to what we all regard as full theatrical normality.


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