Derby Arts and Theatre Association (DATA) are encouraging everyone to lobby their MP to provide adequate funding to help theatres and concert halls survive the current crisis. We have sent a letter to the five MPs who represent the area covered by DATA. The text of our letter is as follows:
“THEATRES AND THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
Derby Arts and Theatre Association represents over forty amateur theatre and music groups in the Derby area. Because of the Covid 19 restrictions, the whole of the live entertainment sector has been forced to close down. For amateur groups, this has resulted in the cancellation and/or rescheduling of all productions and performances, with consequent financial losses for some. All these groups will be keen to recommence their activities as soon as the situation allows.
As you will appreciate, amateur companies are dependent upon the availability of venues in which to rehearse and perform. Rehearsals take place in local community facilities such as halls and schools, but performances are usually in theatres, concert halls and other entertainment venues.
I am sure you will have seen the publicity about the dire financial position of most of our theatres. It is good that the Government has provided support through, for example, the Arts Council England Emergency Fund and the Furlough Scheme but this is clearly not going to be enough to save some theatres, especially the many regional theatres, from financial ruin. Andrew Lloyd Weber and others have said that it will be completely impractical and unviable to reopen theatres under the current social distance restrictions, so it is unlikely theatres will reopen before 2021.
The country is celebrating the restarting of competitive sport this week, but the arts are just as important to the social, economic and mental wellbeing of our society. Indeed, we have heard many accounts of how much people are missing the stimulation, fellowship and stress relief that active participation in amateur theatre and music activities provides.
I am writing, therefore, to ask that you do all you can to encourage the Government to research appropriate audience safety measures and to provide the necessary funding to ensure that our national, regional and local theatres and concert halls can survive.”
If you care about amateur theatre and music - indeed all theatre and music - please write to your MP asking them to help. You can find out who your MP is by following this link: Constituencies - MPs and Lords - UK Parliament. You can adapt the text above or use you own words. The important thing is to get the message across to the Government. There are thousands of people who either actively participate in amateur theatre or support it as friends or audience members.