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Half Moon is proud to be one of the 68 signatories in a letter to The Times calling for immediate support for the arts and asking people to write to their MPs and “join our fight for the survival of UK theatre”.
Only a handful of MPs are fighting for theatre. Please take a look at the information at the bottom of this article with ways to write to your MP.
Times letters: Arts still in peril after the lockdown lifts
Wednesday June 24 2020, The Times
‘The performing arts are battling for survival at a time when theatre matters more than ever. It is not only the West End, the panto, world-class musicals, dance, opera and Shakespeare, it is the creative and outreach work happening around the country in our diverse communities, outdoors, in pop-up spaces, at festivals and online.’
‘Theatre is a national success story, vital to Britain’s economic prosperity. It attracted 34 million visitors last year, employs 300,000 people, promotes tourism and generates huge tax revenues, including VAT of £130 million in London alone. Our industry depends on the £1.3 billion of annual ticket sales that has now disappeared, with disastrous effects on companies, employees and freelancers.’
‘Even with a 1 metre social distancing rule we could fill only about 25 per cent of our seats, which is not a financially feasible option. Without immediate and substantial support, theatres and performing arts companies will close and tens of thousands of artistic careers will be cut short. Times readers should lobby the government and parliamentarians and join our fight for the survival of UK theatre.’
Dame Margaret Hodge, Chair, Theatre Royal Stratford East; Glenn Earle, Chair, Young Vic; Robert Delamere, Chair, ETT; Ben Monks, Chair, Deafinitely Theatre; Geraldine Brodie, Chair, Actors Touring Company; Dame Joan Ruddock, Chair, The Albany Deptford; Luke Johnson, Chair, Almeida Theatre; Amanda Parker, Chair, artsdepot; Chris Lawrence, Chair, Blue Elephant Theatre; Charles Glanville, Chair, Boundless Theatre; Simon Millson, Chair, British Youth Music Theatre; Simon Johnson, Chair, Bush Theatre; Kate McGrath and Isobel Colchester, Co-Chairs, Camden People’s Theatre; Prue Skene, Chair, Cardboard Citizens; Richard Philipps, Chair, Cheek By Jowl; David Micklem, Chair, Chris Goode and Company; Kim Evans, Chair, Clean Break; Lucy Davies, Chair, Clod Ensemble; Vicki Busfield, Chair, CoDa Dance Company; Benjamin Yeoh, Chair, Coney; Catherine Rowan, Chair, Culture & Libraries Committee, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure; Lord Browne of Madingley, Chair, Donmar; Áine Duffy, Chair, Duckie; Dana Kohava Segal, Chair, Emergency Exit Arts; Dr Harry Brunjes, Chair, English National Opera & London Coliseum; Mark Beddy, Chair, English Touring Opera; Mark Hawes, Chair, Frantic Assembly; Sean Egan, Chair, Fuel; Sarah Howard, Chair, Graeae Theatre Company; Kevin Walton, Chair, Green Shoes Arts; Delphine Brand, Chair, Hackney Empire; Dawn Harrison-Wallace, Chair, Half Moon Theatre; David Tyler, Chair, Hampstead Theatre; Donna Munday, Chair, Headlong; Melissa Butcher, Chair, Immediate Theatre; Natasha Freedman, Chair, Improbable Theatre; Dawn Austwick, Chair, Kiln; Bernard Donoghue, Chair, LIFT; Joseph Seelig OBE, Chair, London International Mime Festival; Lisa Burger, Chair, Lyric Hammersmith; Jodi Myers, Chair, Musical Theatre Network; Sir Damon Buffini, Chair, National Theatre; Charlotte Mooney, Ockham’s Razor; Lisa Mead, Chair, Oily Cart; Nick Clarry, Chair, The Old Vic; Charlie Thompson, Chair, Out of Joint; Kim Grant, Chair, Paines Plough; Sarah King, Chair, Polka Theatre for Children; Simon Turner, Chair, The Roundhouse; Anthony Burton CBE, Chair, The Royal Court Theatre; Lady Heywood, acting Chair, Royal Opera House; Nigel Higgins, Chair, Sadler’s Wells; Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE, Chair, Shakespeare’s Globe; Heather Rabbatts, Chair, Soho Theatre; Michelle Smith, Chair, Spare Tyre; Robin Saphra, Chair, Stagetext; Karen West-Whylie, Georgina Philippou, Chair, Stratford Arts Trust; Chair, Studio 3 Arts; Deepa Patel, Chair, Tamasha Theatre Company; Sunita Pandya, Chair, Tara Arts; Gareth Hughes, Chair, Theatre Centre; Sioban Whitney Low, Chair, Theatre Peckham; Elizabeth Lynch MBE, Chair, Theatre-Rites; Sophie Scott, Chair, Told by an Idiot; John Langley, Chair, Unicorn Theatre; Jonathan Meth, Chair, Vital Xposure; Nick Starr CBE, Chair, Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick; Wai Mun Yoon, Chair, Yellow Earth Theatre Company
Please Write To Your MP
Only a handful of MPs are fighting for theatre. Perhaps they think it’s too inaccessible or too niche.
Well, 34 million people go to the theatre every year – many more than attend all professional football. Our tickets are £7. Theatres employ over 300,000 people. The creative industries employ one in six people in London. Virtually every writer, director, and actor on TV and Netflix has developed their talents in theatre.
MPs think there are ‘no votes in the arts’ and it’s ‘not a postbag issue’. I’m asking you and your friends to change that.
Please write to your MP (always include your postal address). Just a line or two to say what theatre means to you and your children and that you know the sector is in desperate need of urgent financial support. Please tell them it matters to you.
A suggested template letter that can be adapted for your own needs, can be found here.
There’s a debate in Parliament on Thursday 25 June 2020 triggered by this petition – please sign it to add your voice: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/320711
MPs’ email addresses are here: https://members.parliament.uk/members/Commons
Public Campaign for the Arts
Theatres, music venues and arts companies are on the brink of ruin. If you care about saving the arts in the UK – and we know you do, or you wouldn’t be here! – please consider joining the Public Campaign for the Arts, signing the survey and writing to your MP – there are templates on their website.
In 10 days they received 70,000 signatures and it’s still growing. Please sign the petition and tell us why you would want to keep the arts. We are stronger together.