Theatres are facing their biggest challenge since before the second world war. Money has been lost, shows have been cancelled and staff have turned to other careers.
The government’s three-step plan for reopening the economy doesn’t favour the theatre, with no specific mention to the regeneration of art venues. It is unclear when indoor venues will be able to open with full capacity.
Those responsible for the success on the stage are usually freelance, from actors to musicians and technicians. Many will look to other careers long before theatres can call them back. Many have been trying to save theatres from the dark. Salford based production company, Up ‘Ere Productions has launched a new initiative under #KeepTheatreAlive.
Virtual plays and fundraisers are part of the campaign. So far over £1000 has been raised for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Hope Mill, Oldham Coliseum and 53Two. Up ‘Ere productions is an up and coming Salford based production company, founded by actor, writer, and director, John O’Neill.
It is expected that venues across the UK won’t be able to reopen their doors until Autumn 2020. The #KeepTheatreAlive initiative includes separate pots for the public to donate in the hope that establishments and events can be saved.
Up ‘Ere Productions have Organised 40 virtual table reads with over 140 actors, followed by hosted Q&As. Four weeks ago the company introduced ‘The Breakfast Club’ where writers and actors read and discuss plays via Zoom – a creative cure for those missing their usual table read.
O’Neill has also set up a #WeeklyWatch where members of the public can watch actors, writers, and directors rehearse a play on Zoom. Donations can be made through JustGiving pages, where all proceeds go to local theatres and art establishments.
To find out more follow the Up ‘Ere Productions on Twitter.