Oliver Dowden: Entertainment venues can remain open for rehearsals and streamed performances

Posted on 3 November 2020

It was confirmed at 9pm last evening that entertainment venues, including theatres, shall be allowed to remain open for rehearsals and streamed performances, effectively treating the venue as a performer's official workplace.

England theatres to remain open for streaming and rehearsing during second lockdown

Following the announcement over the weekend from Boris Johnson of a second England lockdown lasting from 5 November until 2 December, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has stepped in to clarify that theatres may remain open for cast members to rehearse and even render live-streamed performances. 

On Saturday, the Prime Minister announced that entertainment venues must close from later this week, though did not explicitly state whether casts could continue to rehearse and stream. Oliver Dowden took to Twitter on Monday evening to provide some clarification and clear up any confusion:

"Arts venues are places of work, so people can come into them for work, if it cannot be undertaken from home. This includes rehearsals and performance. Audiences are not permitted," he tweeted.

Venues given the green light to stream performances and rehearse without audiences

Venues like the Chichester Festival Theatre, the Old Vic, and the Southwark Playhouse among others may continue with their live-streamed programme as planned, it has been confirmed.

The term "arts venue" or "entertainment venue" is understood to be any space designated for professional rehearsals. Thus, amateur productions likely won't be able to rehearse or stream, though this has yet to be clarified.

The producer of SIX The Musical, Kenny Wax, confirmed on BBC London News today that he plans on holding rehearsals for the show's anticipated return on 5 December. Meanwhile, The Great Gatsby has announced plans to restart from Thursday, 4 December, Everybody's Talking About Jamie plans to return from 12 December, and A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre also still plans to go ahead.

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.