How can I support West End and UK theatres during the COVID-19 crisis?
| By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels
(Updated on Mar 25, 2020)
We were all rooting for 2020. But then the new decade brought us COVID-19, unleashing a whole wave of economic uncertainty for many people, especially those working in retail, travel, accommodation, film, and live entertainment. The West End and UK theatres were no exception and are likely to be hit hard by the crisis. Many venues rely on public support to stay afloat.
On 16 March 2020, Boris Johnson advised people to avoid theatres and cinemas. However, this advice was not declared as mandatory and unfortunately for many UK venues, this meant they could not claim on their insurance. Nevertheless, SOLT and UK Theatre member venues closed as of that evening, and now all performances up until the 30th of April have been confirmed (as at the publish date of this article) as either cancelled or postponed.
Many businesses and theatres, especially smaller venues, do not have the reserves to operate for more than three months and a substantial number of layoffs could be possible. It is predicted that many smaller venues will be forced to shut their doors for good. The best-case scenario is that London Theatreland and UK theatres will recover by the end of the third quarter this year. The worst-case scenario is that we may not see a full recovery for years. But the show MUST go on and theatres, actors, and creatives need our help now more than ever.
Here's how you can help save UK theatre and employees from the corona crisis:
#SupportTheArts — Donate directly to UK theatre venues
Some venues like London's Arcola Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith are a registered charity and rely solely on donations whilst theatres like The Old Vic have no Arts Council support. The best thing you can do right now to help keep UK and London theatre alive is to donate to them directly. Many theatres are now accepting donations on their website. Whether you choose to donate the same amount as your tickets you've purchased or just £5, every little bit helps! Here's a list of theatres that are accepting online donations:
Above The Stag Theatre: Visit https://abovethestag.ticketsolve.com/products/donation.
Alexandra Palace: Name a seat in the theatre from £450 to £900 here: https://www.alexandrapalace.com/support-us/buy-a-seat/.
Arcola: Visit https://arcolatheatre.charitycheckout.co.uk/covid19/.
Barbican: Visit https://www.barbican.org.uk/join-support/support-us/for-individuals/make-a-donation or call 020 7638 8891 to make a donation.
Battersea Arts: Visit https://www.bac.org.uk/content/37435/support/donate/donate.
Bush: Visit https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/support-us/donate/.
Hampstead Theatre: Visit https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/support-us/.
Menier Chocolate Factory: Visit https://www.menierchocolatefactory.com/Online/default.asp and select "Make A Donation" under "WE NEED YOUR HELP."
Lyric Hammersmith: Visit https://lyric.co.uk/support-us/individuals/.
Park Theatre: Visit https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/support-us/donate-to-annual-fund.
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre: Visit https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/support/support-us/donate.
Roundhouse Theatre: Visit https://www.roundhousetheatre.org/Join-Give/Donate-Now.
Royal Court: Visit https://royalcourttheatre.com/donate/.
Sadler's Wells: Visit https://secure.sadlerswells.com/support/donate.
Soho Theatre: Visit https://sohotheatre.com/support-us/.
Southwark Playhouse: Visit https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/support-us/make-a-donation/.
St Pauls Church, Covent Garden: Visit https://actorschurch.ticketsolve.com/products/donation.
The Coronet Theatre: Visit https://www.thecoronettheatre.com/donate/.
The Kiln: Visit https://kilntheatre.com/give/.
The Old Vic: Visit https://www.oldvictheatre.com/support-us/donate.
Theatre Royal Stratford East: Contact [email protected] or call 020 8279 1157 to make a donation.
Support theatre professionals during the coronavirus
SOLT and UK Theatres have recently launched a new microsite theatresupport.info to help create a united front amidst mass theatre closures during the COVID-19 crisis. The charities involved include:
Acting for Others
Actors' Benevolent Fund (ABF)
Actors' Children's Trust (ACT)
The Actors' Church
Dance Professionals Fund
Equity Charitable Trust
Funds for Freelancers
Grand Order of Water Rats
Make A Difference Trust (MAD)
Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund
Royal Theatrical Fund
Stage One New Producers
Theatre Chaplaincy UK
Until the Curtain Rises
Visit the website theatresupport.info to find out more about how to donate to these pivotal charities. Together we can help ensure that the show will go on!