Wales Theatres Go Red For COVID-19 Government Plea

Iconic buildings and venues across Wales will light up in red this evening (Tuesday 11th August 2020) as part of a UK-wide day of action highlighting the urgent government help the sector needs during the Covid-19 crisis. The live events industry across the UK will come together in solidarity to host a series of creative action to help save the live events and entertainment sector which is on the verge of collapsing without financial support from the government.

Hundreds of venues are expected to turn their lights red at 9.00pm in over 20 cities across the UK to symbolise the industry going into Red Alert.

Across Wales, more than 50 venues and events businesses have signed up to turn red to stress the need for support. A large collective from the industry made up of trade bodies, businesses, freelancers and venue staff, currently on furlough, will gather in groups of no more than 30 (in line with government social distancing guidelines) in front of each venue to support the #WeMakeEvents #LightItInRed campaign. Whilst Wales-based events companies will light up their trucks as they lay empty on forecourts.

Welsh venues confirmed to turning red are:

  • Cardiff and Newport: Cardiff Castle, Principality Stadium, City Hall, Motorpoint Arena, Wales Millennium Centre, New Theatre, Chapter, St Davids Hall, venues on Womanby St, USW Atrium, Dolman Theatre, ICC Wales
  • South Wales Valleys: Blackwood Miners Institute, Newbridge Memo, Borough Abergavenny, Theatr Brycheiniog
  • North Wales: Venue Cymru, Theatr Colwyn, Pontio
  • West Wales: Ffwrnes Theatre Llanelli, The Lyric Carmarthen, Miners Hall Ammanford, Pontardawe Arts Centre

Sarah Hemsley-Cole, Director of SC Productions Ltd, an events production company based in Cardiff says, “Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on the live events and arts sector here in Wales, not only our theatres, but our touring shows, stadium shows, live music venues and outdoor arts have been decimated by the pandemic.

The ecosystem of our creative industry – skilled professional such as technicians, designers, actors, performers, musicians and suppliers are now fighting for survival.

In Wales alone there are in excess of 7000 individuals employed within the creative industries, and with the governments furlough scheme ending in October, and with no sense of a time line when events and venues can re-open – many are being forced in to poverty debt and despondency.

With no timeline or criteria having been issued by the Welsh Government for their administration of the cultural recovery fund, unlike the Welsh Arts Council who have released their timeline for applications, this delay will leave the whole industry extremely vulnerable and at risk of extinction. We urgently need the financial support across the creative industries extended, we need support now in order to support anyone and everyone from falling through the cracks, and we need grants not loans for the supply chain.

All live events, including sporting events, provide both a massive part of many many people’s social calendar and a huge amount of employment. SC Productions Ltd as an example, employ five staff full time, but over a Summer this will increase to around 200 with the companies work schedule.

In Wales we stand together to be recognised for our contribution to the economy, our cultural contribution, and to draw focus on the urgency of the situation in order to sustain and support our cultural life moving forward.”

The call to action hopes to raise awareness for over a million professionals at risk of losing their jobs, 600,000 of whom deliver outdoor events, around 70 per cent of the workforce are freelance. The imminent closure of the self-employed income support scheme at the end of the month threatens their livelihood.

Unlike other industries, events, festivals, and performances have been unable to safely reopen due to social distancing guidance and may not reopen until early 2021 – and opening times keep being pushed back. With no government support on the horizon for the event supply chain, redundancies have already begun, research indicates that 25 per cent of companies will have served redundancy notices by end of August, this rises to 70 per cent by the end of December.

Over 19 trade associations from the live events sector are collaborating for the first time to save help save their industry – the initial #WeMakeEvents campaign by PLASA issued a ‘Red Alert’ last week, to symbolise the imminent danger the industry is in.

The socially distanced call to action will shine a light on the collaborative nature of the industry, showcasing a creative experience and live displays containing messages from established figures. Platinum-selling artists Peter Gabriel, The Cure, and Imogen Heap are just few of the many voices giving their support to this UK-wide cause. Whilst in Wales, artists such as Catrin Finch, Mike Doyle, Sophie Evans and Owen Money have lent their voice to highlight the campaign.

  • Industry professionals from across Wales and the UK will take action on Tuesday 11 August at 9.00pm.  More details can be found on the event Facebook page: Wales – We Make Events

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