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  • No one seems to be talking about theater, which boggles my mind, especially when I started looking into the numbers.

  • It seems like the sector employs over 290,000 people.

  • Uh, currently, over 70% of those jobs are at risk.

  • Over 34 million people visit our theaters each year, 24% of all holiday visitors toe London.

  • Go to the theater theater generates £133 million in VAT payments and again, 2.7 billion to the UK economy, which trumps the 1.1 billion spent by live sports events.

  • I mean, it's a massive industry, and more importantly, it's the culture.

  • It's the reason people love a city like London on DSO.

  • I'd love to talk about that today.

  • I know the Chancellor, Richie.

  • Soon, I just came out with some announcements about what they were gonna do with the furlough and the work scheme.

  • But curiously, theater again wasn't mentioned by name.

  • So tell me, what's it like to be in your shoes?

  • What's it like on the ground?

  • And what are some of the biggest challenges you face in getting the sector back toe work?

  • What is you just said, You know, the theater sector in the UK is unrivaled in the world, and it's one of the most successful parts of our kind of export industry as well.

  • On that 34 million people who attend theater that you mentioned.

  • That's more people than go to live league football matches in the UK, and you know how popular football is in the UK.

  • So, contrary to what some people might think, theater is a mass, uh, population interest.

  • Lots of people go to the theater.

  • So, yeah, this last 56 months since theaters had to close their doors completely in March has been just been awful.

  • It's been It's been horrible, you know.

  • Yes, the theater sector has some subsidy from the state on.

  • Those theaters are subsidized have probably been in a better position to kind of survive things.

  • But that's only about 12 13% of all theaters in the U.

  • K.

  • Most theaters run on probably no subsidy, and so all of their income, whether it's from ticket sales, whether it's from bar, say, or whether it's from restaurant sales all completely gone Onda course, the furlough scheme has been a lifesaver About 70% of all the theaters have used it over the last five or six months.

  • Andi, even though some industries have started to go back and start to return to work.

  • Still about 50 odd percent of theater workers on the furlough scheme that compares with about 12 or 13% in the general, you know, across all industries.

  • So the idea that the fellow scheme would come to an end at the end of October was essentially a cliff edge for the sector.

  • We've already seen six theaters go into administration.

  • About 5000 redundancies have been announced.

  • They're not all gone through yet, but they're in the process of discussing them.

  • So it was great to hear the chance of this morning.

  • At least talk about something to replace the furlough scheme.

  • Where there was you rightly point out, it wasn't.

  • It's not sector specific.

  • It's not specific to culture.

  • In my experience, the Treasury are not keen on doing sector specific interventions.

  • They tend to prefer industrywide interventions, which I kind of get but actually doesn't make sense.

  • So the new scheme, the job up now I can't remember the new name.

  • Now I think it's called the job protection scheme rather than Yeah, I'm not sure.

  • Job support scheme.

  • That's what's cool.

  • So the new job support scheme he was a job protection scheme before, uh, means that, uh, you as an employer, you need to bring your staff back for at least one third of the working week on the government Will will support them or pay their salary for the other two thirds.

  • Um, so that works if you're running a shop or restaurant, where you've got less demand and so you don't need to bring in all your staff all the time.

  • But that doesn't really work for theaters in the same way, because it still cost the same to put on one show in one evening.

  • Regardless of whether or not you can have 100% audience in there, or whether you can have 30% audience, I think that's the critical thing.

  • So in the middle of August, theaters were able to reopen.

  • So march through the mid August, completely shot.

  • And then in the middle of August, the government announced that theaters could open, but with social distancing in the same way that restaurants can and bars can.

  • The problem for theaters is that's just not viable because very few of them are subsidized.

  • They rely on that earned income.

  • Andi, although it's a successful industry, works on really narrow margins.

  • So you need.

  • You need a certain number of people to come through the doors to make it even worth while opening those doors.

  • And it's roughly 70% 70% capacity, 70% just to make it even financial sense to kind of break even and paying everybody and be able to do it.

  • That's right.

  • And that's probably not compatible with current social distance.

  • No, it's not right now with the current social distancing rules best you could probably manage 30% eso What we've seen since the middle of August is very few theaters have reopened, although technically they can if they want.

  • Thio Ah, handful have, including some in the West End s own Imax who run about four or five theaters in the West End up planning to reopen in October.

  • The palladium has reopened, but what those guys are doing some other some other theaters nationally as well.

  • What all those guys are doing are putting on one man shows they're putting on cheaper shows, not the show's not big musicals, not big big theater plays, not Shakespeare, because that's just too expensive.

  • So they're doing it as a kind of a loss leader as a way of encouraging the public to come back to the theater.

  • Ondas away off at least covering some of their costs, because even when the theater was closed A you've got to cover whatever percentage of the staff salary that isn't going to be covered by government.

  • You gotta pay that, Andi, even even a close building costs money, toe maintain to ensure to rent.

  • If you're not, if you don't own it, you know all those things.

  • All those costs haven't gone away.

  • We know from research that about 70% of the theaters in the U.

  • K have enough money left to last your Christmas.

  • So this announcement today Wolf will push that date back a bit, will make them, you know, labor them to last a bit longer.

  • Couple months, couple of months longer.

  • But we won't see theaters suddenly going.

  • Oh, great.

  • Now we can reopen.

  • It will.

  • We won't be able to reopen until one of two things happens either we can persuade the government and we're working on that.

  • At the moment.

  • I think we consider the government that we can put in place enough what they call mitigation measures to mean that you can push the capacity up a little bit.

  • I could tell you a little bit more about that.

  • If you want me to go into some of the detail on that or we get to the stage.

  • And of course we look.

  • Looks like we're a long way off that we get to the stage where we can live.

  • Social distancing.

  • That's not gonna happen this side of Christmas, that's for sure.

  • So it's not looking great.

  • Further theater sector.

  • Why, why my wife?

  • Why stop my wife?

  • Uh huh.

No one seems to be talking about theater, which boggles my mind, especially when I started looking into the numbers.

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A HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE: Why The Theatre Sector Has Been Neglected During Lockdown - Jon Morgan

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/12
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