The opening salvo reminds readers that theatre alone generated ticket revenue of £1.28 billion, employed 290,000 people and reached an audience of 34 million; “that’s more people than go to all league football matches in the year”. In passing, it also exceeds impressive figures for live music.
Enforced cancellations and closures have meant that, in the first 12 weeks of lockdown (broadly to mid-June), 15,000 performances were cancelled with the loss of more than £303 million in box office revenue and an estimated total loss including associated income, for example, from catering of £630 million.
The Theatres Trust has estimated that half of UK’s 1,100 theatres operator as charities and, of those, 35% held less than one month’s reserves and 59% less than three months’. Logically, this means that approximately 330 theatres should already have closed, although the report cites the permanent closure of only four.
The UK’s Creative Environment
The report also emphasises the interconnectivity between different organisations and different forms of media. It mentions the classic example of Phoebe Waller Bridge’s Fleabag, which started out in small London theatres and on the Edinburgh Fringe, before becoming a global stage and TV phenomenon.