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Theatres need help or some curtains may stay down

Several regional theatres have announced they are in serious financial trouble as a result of coronavirus.

With so many other businesses pedalling hard to keep their heads above water, it's not surprising stage hands and directors are are waving as they drown in cancelled shows and requests to operate in the future at less than 20 per cent seating capacity.

While Coventry and Warwickshire has a strong amateur theatre scene, some professional companies were struggling even before the virus hit.

It's already been reported that the Nuffield Southampton Theatre has just gone into administration while managers at The Lighthouse Theatre in Poole told BBC News (May 14) that operating at 16-20 per cent capacity will not "cut the mustard" unless they receive more government help.

Actress Kim Cattrall of Sex and the City fame was on the same news slot saying how she'd only gone into acting in the first place after being inspired by productions she'd seen in her native Liverpool - a starting point for so many untried playwrights as well as performers.

Certainly directors in London's West End admit they rely on plays and musicals that do well in the provinces transferring successfully to the capital - the most recent success in London is Everybody's Talking About Jamie which started life at Sheffield's Lyceum.

So far The Belgrade in Coventry and the RSC in Stratford are - to quote John Travolta - Staying Alive. Let's hope to keep it that way by writing to our MPs to press for more support for regional arts and culture.

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