Relevant Organisations or Working Groups:

ABTT Standing Committee for Technical Standards: The ABTT does have the ‘Standing Committee for technical standards’ that consists of members from the industry and responsible authorities who deal with matters of interpretation, subjects for inclusion and modifications in view of technical innovations required to maintain the currency of Technical Standards

The ABTT Safety Committee is responsible for the compilation and publication of the ABTT Codes of Practice and plays a vital role in the group publishing the Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment, known as the ‘Yellow Book’.

Entertainment and Event Working Group: Theatre sector welcomes the establishment of a specific new group to find solutions to enable sector to reopen amidst warnings that 70% of venues will run out of cash by the end of the year

Relevant movements or initiatives

The Arts Map – an online platform support arts organisations

The Public Campaign for the Arts has launched the Arts Map, a new online platform to grow and express support for arts organisations in local communities across the UK.

The Arts Map enables anyone to type in their postcode, check the status of arts organisations nearby, and show support for them with messages and donations. You can receive all messages for use in your fundraising and advocacy.

To find out more and to register, visit https://www.campaignforthearts.org/map/

#BackOnStage social media campaign
A social media campaign has launched with the hashtag #BackOnStage to celebrate shows as they return. Everyone can get involved – from cast, to front and back of house, to audiences – by using the hashtag when your show reopens, as well as supporting other shows as they open. Here is how you can get involved:

  1. In the run up to reopening, share videos of the cast, backstage team or venue employees talking about how excited they are to be back. Remind ticket holders via your channels to use the hashtag #BackOnStage when posting about their experience of the show.
  2. After the bows, have a cast member do a shoutout to ask audiences to share their experience of being back at the theatre using the hashtag and tagging the show.
  3. Take a picture or video of the audience on opening night and post with the hashtag.
  4. Incentivise followers to use the hashtag by saying you’ll repost your favourite experiences. Share the best posts from audience members and other productions.
  5. Get in touch with us to organise a #BackOnStage-themed Instagram takeover or Vlog early in the run (please email jess@soltukt.co.uk and frankie@soltukt.co.uk)
  6. As shows begin to reopen, record your cast saying a ‘break a leg message’ for their opening night and celebrate their success by retweeting their #BackOnStage content.

Include #BackOnStage in any promotional and organic online content. Include it in your social copy to spread awareness to those across all platforms.

More venues and shows outside London needed for new Google initiative

Google, in partnership with Shine Creative Solutions, are creating a new ‘theatre hub’ which will sit on the Google Arts and Culture portal. We requested information back in July and are in the process of adding submissions now, but we need more venues outside of London to include. These new submissions will be added in phase 2 of the upload.

This will be an information-based site initially, which will then develop into a more interactive campaign as the partnership progresses.

The hub will provide consumers with an A-Z of theatre (for both productions or venues). This hub will link to your venue’s own dedicated profile, where you can highlight as many of your future shows as you want (as well as any current ones, e.g. if you’re programming outdoor performances), and also add your website details, etc.

Theatre Insurance and COVID-19
If you produce work (venue or business) please fill out this survey on insurance. UK Theatre and SOLT are continuing to investigate the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) – this time, specifically on insurance.

The availability of suitable insurance cover, has become one of the critical potential barriers to reopening our sector. The aim of the survey is to enable us to assess the insurance landscape, including the level of insurance that might be required now and moving forwards. This information will help to support us in our lobbying on behalf of the sector. Please complete the survey by 17.00 hrs Friday 7 August.

Survey on Creative Industries Federation and Home Office Call for Evidence: New unsponsored immigration route
The Home Office will create a new unsponsored route within the Points-Based System to run alongside the employer-led system. It is proposed that highly skilled individuals could come to the UK under this route for a two-year period without the requirement of a job-offer, sponsor or endorsement of their application. The Home Office is now beginning its engagement process to consider what characteristics should be awarded points.

This route has huge potential to alleviate many of the problematic issues which have been highlighted for the creative industries, in particular for freelancers, within the current system. The Creative Industries Federation has requested our input because it is key that we show the Home Office how this route can best operate to meet the sector’s needs.

Whilst the sector is facing an enormously challenging situation at this time, this presents an important opportunity for you to identify the criteria which you consider to be appropriate for what could be a key route for the sector post-Covid-19. We therefore urge you to complete our brief survey, by close of play on Thursday, 6 August 2020. Your contribution will inform SOLT and UK Theatre’s response to the call for evidence. If you have any queries about the survey, please email marsha@soltukt.co.uk. If it would be helpful to see a PDF of the survey before completing it online, please email lisa@soltukt.co.uk.
We need your help: UK Theatre audience confidence survey

To help us with our government lobbying and give theatres deeper, detailed insights on their own audiences’ return, we are launching the UK Theatre audience confidence survey today.

We need as many venues as possible to sign up, so that we get a good, representative sample of data from across the whole country. To take part, we just need you to send an invitation email to between 10,000 and 25,000 people on your database.

We encourage you to participate in this survey even if you have already undertaken other audience surveys. This study will be carefully weighted to provide accurate results and a high level of practical, actionable detail. Every participating venue will receive a report giving their own audiences’ responses. The deadline for venues to sign up to participate is Monday 6 July.

Signing up to take part is easy – visit this webpage: https://wh.snapsurveys.com/s.asp?k=159300804548

For more information about the survey, For more information about the survey, please download the FAQ helpsheet here

The survey will be available for audiences to complete Wednesday 8 July to Sunday 19 July.

The survey has been commissioned by SOLT & UK Theatre on behalf of its members. The research is being done pro bono for SOLT & UK Theatre by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre in partnership with TRG Arts and Purple Seven.

Inspiring Future Theatre
Inspiring Future Theatre is an annual celebration of the amazing work theatre professionals do across the UK to inspire young people, communities and schools. Unfortunately, IFT will be a little different this year as we are unable to host in-person talks and workshops but we want to make a big impact across social media to remind people just how important theatre is.

For the last 2 years #InspiringFutureTheatre trended UK-wide, and we want to repeat this success and spread the message in 2020.
Join in on social media and tell the world about the amazing work you do to inspire young people in your community and schools, or who/what inspires you in your job. #InspiringFutureTheatre

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Use one of these templates to share what you do
  • Share a video from a recent initiative
  • Share a trailer for an upcoming outreach programme
  • Share your education web page
  • Share details of your projects

Whatever your highlights, get involved and celebrate with us on 8 July with #InspiringFutureTheatre.
OfficialLondonTheatre.com/inspiring-future-theatre/  / UKTheatre.org/inspiring-future-theatre/

Public Campaign for the Arts – now live

Jack Gamble from the Arcola Theatre is coordinating a grassroots campaign to express public support for the arts and for action to save theatres. Members of the public from across the UK have contributed videos to www.CampaignForTheArts.org – please share the link widely and encourage people you know to record and upload their own stories. You can read more about the project in this article on The Guardian.

#SceneChange – Designers unite to support freelance theatre creatives
A group of leading Theatre Designers have formed #SceneChange – a Community that brings designers together at a moment of great uncertainty for the theatre industry and its creative professionals, to join in conversation and explore how to navigate a way through this time. It will provide a platform for all theatre set and costume designers, established and emerging, associates and assistants. It also offers a place for freelance creatives from all theatre disciplines to join in dialogue, share experience and tackle the challenges ahead.

The #SceneChange website offers a valuable resource, with a blog from designers across the spectrum, an open forum, information on support and emergency funding for freelancers and artists, as well as providing a community and network at this challenging time. They are also hosting a number of events via Zoom to discuss and share experiences on the impact of Covid-19 on the industry and to bring people together at a time of increasing isolation: https://www.scene-change.com/surgeries

Theatre Tokens #IMissTheatre Campaign
As part of the Virtual West End LIVE weekend, we launched our #IMissTheatre campaign which encourages theatre-goers to purchase Theatre Tokens to support the industry now knowing they can visit the theatre when they reopen.

Over the weekend of West End LIVE, we saw an average increase of 148% in eGift sales compared with the previous weekends in June. We have also seen 22% increase in sales of gift cards since launching the campaign.

As part of the campaign we have created show specific eGifts, and would love for your show or venue to be involved. Please send us a production shot (no logos) or a photograph of your venue and we’ll feature you on the Theatre Tokens website. In exchange, we’d like you to use the image across social and in your newsletters to support the campaign and encourage your audience to purchase Theatre Tokens. Once your venue is reopen, we can follow-up with a geo-targeted email encouraging patrons to redeem their tokens at your venue.

#FreelancersMakeTheatreWork was set up in response to the Covid-19 pandemic by an independent voluntary group of freelance theatre makers, advocating for all UK theatre freelancers and the industry as a whole. See their e-flyer for a summary of our initial intentions and ambitions.

#EventsForTheFuture Initiative is a collaboration between the Association for British Theatre Technicians (ABTT), the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA), Production Services Association (PSA), the Society Of London Theatres (SOLT), and UK Theatre which together represent over 3,000 businesses and individuals. The aim is to petition the Government to provide more support to give the events sector a chance of survival through Covid-19 into 2021. Please download and customise one of these letters and send  to your local MP to campaign for further support from the government.

#OurWorldWithout has been launched by the Creative Industries Federation to highlight what a world without culture would look like. The aim of this is to encourage the government to release urgent funding to help creative organisations and professionals who are facing particularly challenging times.

 #SaveLiveEvents has been launched by WhiteLight on social media, you may have noticed that they have started their own campaign in order to create support for the supply chain of the Live Events Industry. As such, we would be extremely grateful if you too were able to support this as well. Just follow the link above for the social media toolkit, including campaign information, assets and example copy you may need to show your support and ensure our industry receives the support it needs.

#IMissTheatre campaign with Theatre Tokens, encourages theatre lovers to buy Theatre Tokens now which they can use to see their favourites shows when they return. Once we have the green light that theatres can reopen, we will then launch a Theatre Tokens redemption campaign. We’ll be in touch with how your individual shows and theatres can benefit.

#LeaveaLightOn A #ghostlight is a single bulb left burning whenever a theatre is dark. Help us leave a light on for our industry by sharing photos with @theabtt of your theatres, sets, lighting and everything backstage to spread positivity and show that we will return soon!

Purple Seven & TRG Arts provide venue dashboards to assist with recovery planning to  all interested venues. This dashboard will enable organisations to benchmark your dataset against your peers, and provides a range of key metrics, to assist you in short and long-term recovery planning.There is no charge for signing up to and accessing your dashboard, and organisations should be able to sign up within a matter of days. The online sign-up process is quick and easy, via this link.

Brunswick Arts has compiled a database of cultural institutions and events affected by Coronavirus globally. Keep this database up to date with the latest information by adding any institutions or events you’re aware of. This Google Sheet can be edited by anyone, so that we have a centralised resource of those who are affected.If you’d like a weekly update of how Coronavirus is affecting culture and creative industries worldwide, you can sign up to the Brunswick Arts ‘Cultural Conversations’ by clicking this link.
Open Source – Google Sheet: Cultural Institutions & Events affected by Coronavirus worldwide

Do you have theatre people can watch from home? The government has put together an ongoing list of theatre, music and dance shows to watch from home during this period. If you would like your theatre’s show added, email info@theculturediary.com.

Official London Theatre are listing all ways to watch theatre from home and promoting this via our social media channels. Please send all updates to news@soltukt.co.uk for inclusion. We are also planning to repurpose the press night diary for people to book their streamings to avoid clashes.

Relevant petitions that need your signature or action:

Are you reopening your venue?
It would be really helpful to have a sense of which theatres have plans to reopen within the next couple of months. If you are planning on reopening your venue / opening a show with social distancing, please get in touch with kayley@soltukt.co.uk. This will be kept confidential but will help in terms of our media messaging.

Save Theatres & Entertainment Industry Petition – Please Sign. We all know that theatres and television sets remain completely impractical whilst social distancing is in place. For the majority of those working in the industry, doing our jobs from home is simply not an option and with the industry unlikely to reopen until 2021, this means we are facing a very uncertain future. This is why we’d urge you to sign this petition which calls on additional government support and to develop a strategy which ensures the UK’s cultural sectors’ survival. Add your signature here!

DCMS Select Committee – lack of evidence from under-represented groups, especially Black British Theatre and disability and inclusive arts
Looking through the list of theatres that have submitted written evidence to the DCMS Select Committee, there is a lack of voices there from under-represented groups / theatre organisations whose work focuses on promoting work by people who are Black, Asian or minority ethnic, D/deaf and disabled for instance, or which represents diverse communities. We therefore encourage anyone or any organisations who want to add their thoughts to do so. Your submission doesn’t have to be long at all. The deadline is next Friday (June 19).

Amanda Parker is collecting this information relating to Black British theatre and practitioners, or any other minority ethnic groups, so please contact her here: aparker@incarts.uk
For any submissions relating to D/deaf and disabled work and practitioners, please contact us at: ukt@soltukt.co.uk

Open Letters – How You Can Help In an attempt to lobby the much needed support from the government to support our industry, there have been several open letters outlining what needs to be done, including one from Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture at the GLA as well as one from Bryan himself. We would encourage you to share these with your friends, social media channels and local MPs to ensure our needs and concerns are heard as widely as possible. Read the Letter here,

Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on productions – Survey 5
UK Theatre and SOLT are continuing to investigate the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) – this time specifically on productions. Please complete this latest survey by Monday 22 June at noon. All answers should be rounded up/down to the nearest number.

Pledges and Declarations:

Eco Stage Pledge – The ecostage pledge is a public commitment and positive declaration to work ecologically in the performing arts sector. It includes a set of intersecting values, objectives and provocations for engaging with ecological practice. The pledge is envisioned as a conversation starter to help bring an ecological ethic to performance production and as a tool for motivating action. It also features an ecostage stamp to share on documentation. Join our global online community united by the firm belief in our collective capacity to effect change. Pledge to connect.

UK Live Performance Production Declares Climate & Biodiversity Emergency-  is a global petition uniting all strands of the Live Performance Production industry. It is both a public declaration of our planet’s environmental crises and a commitment to take positive action in response to climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse.

Relevant updates and notifications:

UK Theatre and Equity Commercial Theatre Agreement – COVID-19 Variation Agreement

UK Theatre and Equity have worked together to agree a variation to the Commercial Theatre Agreement for Actors and Stage Management designed to assist with the recovery of the industry and in particular, the touring sector.

Other than stated in the document, all of the other terms and conditions remain as set out in the CTA.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Government Guidance Library

Alongside DCMS, we are pleased to bring together on our SOLT and UK Theatre websites links to all the government schemes and advice for the different parts of the theatre sector, whether you are a theatre, a production company, one of the many companies in the theatre ecology, or an individual who works in the sector. These links should take you to the latest “live” pages on other websites with the latest guidance and help.

Guidance FAQ Document

Solt and UK Theatre’s working groups have been working on a Frequently Asked Questions document which they have uploaded to their website to go alongside the government guidance for the performing arts. This document is intended to help you understand the UK Government guidance and provide additional support to members when applying it practically. As the guidance changes and develops they will also be updating this document so please do keep checking back.

Relevant Groups:

People Powered A group of mobilised freelancers called People Powered have offered to help the NHS. If you could help or want to spread the word you can follow them on Twitter here.

3DCrowd UK There are volunteers across the UK who are producing 3D printed Face Shields to help address the shortage of PPE in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • If you have a 3D Printer you can help.
  • If you have time available to package the PPE you can help.
  • If you know anyone in need of PPE – you can help. Just get in touch!

PPE and Theatres

  1. Does your theatre have any PPE equipment from your making workshops that might be better put to use by the NHS right now? Masks, gloves, protective clothing, sponges and wipes? We heard that the ROH and Museums have already given London Ambulance / NHS PPE equipment. We thought it was an amazing idea. So if your theatre hasn’t already done so, and you’d like to, we recommend contacting your local NHS / ambulance service / care homes to see what they need, and if you have anything suitable to safely donate. If you are in London, please email Covid-19PPEdonations@lond-amb.nhs.uk to see what they need / can use.
  2. For the love of scrubs… Members of the public up and down the country have been busy making scrubs, scrubs bags and hairbands for their local NHS. We learnt that the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s Wardrobe Assistant Isabel Innes and other theatre makers have also been doing the same.

Call out for content supporting NHS

Solt UK writing a piece about how the theatre community is coming together to support NHS staff / key workers during this time (for example, costume designers making scrubs, peoplepowereduk.org, etc). Please send anything relevant to be included to kitty@soltukt.co.uk.