As #SaveTheArts fills our social platforms, this week the Government announced a substantial support package for the arts, with £1.57 billion made available across the sector. Live performance is a vital part of our national life, and the people whose skill make it so special need to be sustained and supported. How this funding filters to those most in need remains to be seen, but is a significant step in the right direction, ensuring artists, venues and institutions remain solvent until spring next year, despite current distancing restrictions.
Starting up an agency in isolation has been an interesting experience, but conversations with companies across the UK have shown that, despite the unknown, exhaustive scenario planning is taking place so that projects can be sprung into action once public health guidelines surrounding rehearsals and performances have been published. Scientific evidence is also ongoing in the UK and, from August this year, will inform distancing guidelines for singers, wind and brass players in particular. Our arts institutions are therefore refocusing what they may and may not be able to present physically, beyond the range of back catalogue web streaming and lockdown digital projects. As inventive as these projects may have been, there remains a real hunger for live performance among audiences, in whatever guise that may be.
So artists need to be fleet of foot to respond to this smaller-scale work once scientific evidence/Government guidance gives the green light for live performance to resume. Our theatres may lie dark for a little longer, but our creative work can flourish in communities across the country as artists #SaveTheArts through the kinds of grassroots live performance our audiences have sorely missed.