DCMS Entertainment and Events Group

DCMS Entertainment and Events Working Group

On 28 May, SOLT and UK Theatre submitted a detailed and comprehensive document to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and HM Treasury describing the impacts already being felt by the sector and what we need to secure from the government to enable us to re-open safely. The document was created using data from our member surveys, consultation with both SOLT and UK Theatre Boards, other industry bodies, suppliers, creatives, freelancers and of course all our members who also sent us information. 

It is imperative that we continue to lobby the government with one voice and a joined-up approach. Our fundamental message to government will be that we cannot viably operate and re-open around the current social distancing rules. 

Please scroll down to the 'See how you can help the theatre industry' tab to see how you can help us.

Theatre and the performing arts play a huge role in enriching our national identity, our economy and our local communities. In 2018, venues represented by The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre generated ticket revenue of £1.28 billion, employing 290,000 workers. Over 70% of those jobs are now at risk.

Amidst warnings from venues that 70% of theatres will run out of cash by the end of the year, this paper presents the urgent measures needed to rescue the performing arts sector. 

Our DCMS submission calls for moves to:

Sustain the workforce, through the continuation and development of the Job Retention Scheme and a new package to support the army of freelancers and self-employed artists who create so much of our work.  

Support theatre recovery, through adaptations to the existing theatre production tax relief scheme, support for businesses that supply theatres, and aid with making venues Covid-19 secure.   

Safeguard the future of the theatre industry, through an Emergency Relief Fund and the creation of a new Cultural Investment Participation Scheme for the sector from government: a national pledge for culture. 

SOLT and UK Theatre look forward to continuing to work with the government and to providing more detailed evidence to the DCMS to move forward in strategic measures to rescue British theatre and allow it to re-open successfully.

We have helped with the establishment of the new Entertainment and Events Working Group set up by the DCMS and chaired by the Minister for Arts & Culture. We have set up a number of Working Groups that will feed directly into this. This groups will be focusing on the following areas:

  • Rehearsals and pre-production
  • Opening venues safely
  • Touring
  • Insurance
  • Audience research

These groups will be meeting weekly to work on the ask to government and will be responsible for leading our membership through each of the specific issues. This will involve creating principles and guidance, consulting further with the wider memberships, commission any necessary research and/or training. 

SOLT and UK Theatre members can request a list with the names of those on the Working Groups by emailing tracey@soltukt.co.uk.

We have published our media strategy which is available here. We will also be working with our marketing groups on an industry-wide campaign to reassure audiences and encourage them back into our theatres once we are able to reopen. 

We will be working with other UK theatre bodies, relevant stakeholders and the Theatre APPG on ensuring we are speaking with one voice where appropriate. 

Please use our template to write to your local MP with suggestions on how they can help during the next few weeks. You can also download the open letter that is referred to in the template.

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+44 (0)20 7557 6700

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"UK Theatre" is the operating name of UK Theatre Association, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, whose registered office is at 32 Rose Street, London, WC2E 9ET, Company No 323204.