- 10 Jun 20
Experts and industry leaders are calling for additional funding to support the entertainment industry amid the pandemic.
Many theatres and independent music venues are facing permanent shutdowns across the UK and US due to the harrowing impact of the COVID-19 crisis. According to industry leaders, half of all music venues and 70% of theatres are in danger of shutting down within the coming months in the UK and an astronomical 90% of independent venues face closure in the US,
COVID-19 has posed a major threat to the live entertainment industry, forcing the temporary shutdown of theatres, venues and festivals across the globe amid social distancing restrictions. Horace Trubridge, the general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, and Julian Bird, chief executive of UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre explained the grim future of the industry to MPs in a virtual session of the House of Commons.
"A lot of music venues are in city centres in sort of prime real estate. If they can’t continue to make the money that keeps the doors open then I think their landlords will be thinking about doing something else with the properties. We could very easily lose half the music venues we have in the UK during this crisis if there isn’t more permanent support for them," Trubridge explained.
Their most recent survey stated that 70% of theatres will shut down by the end of the year unless the government steps in and provides support. Current government support for businesses is not enough for the industry, and they have called for additional support for the creative industries. Many employees were unable to qualify for government support schemes and Trubridge said that "many of our members, up to maybe more than 20%, think they won’t be able to stay in the profession if this goes on for too long."
Though lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted in the US, the entertainment industry faces an even more grim future. As the nation grapples with the crisis, many industry leaders have begun to assume that they won't be able to return until 2021. The American small business rescue program, known as the Payment Protection Program, has not provided sufficient support for independent venues.
A major issue the entertainment industry faces in the coming months is the nature of their reopening. Once they are available to reopen, social distancing guidelines may reduce their patronage significantly and make their already-shaky businesses unviable. In the worst of cases, reopening won't even be an option for venues and theatres grappling with the major shock of COVID-19.