The curtains will rise... #LoveTheatreDay
Posted on 18 November 2020
Although news of the efficacy rates for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (90% and 94.5% respectively) won't be the shot in the arm we need to get West End theatres back up and running again, the hope that they bring will surely be enough to lift our spirits and boost consumer confidence. There's no doubt that it will take a while to roll out the vaccines, but the very fact that there's an end in sight means us theatre nerds can finally breathe a sigh of relief!
And the show will go on with or without social distancing. This #LoveTheatreDay, let's give thanks to all of our actors, artists, singers, musicians, writers, creatives, and in-house staff who make the magic of the stage possible. They've endured unspeakable and unforgivable neglect these past several months and they can't be appreciated enough!
An industry forgotten?
The UK Government showed their true colours this year with half-arsed support schemes that left many theatres and freelance workers high and dry. Although it's been nowhere near as bad as our friends from across the pond (and a Joe Biden presidency definitely won't make things much better for Broadway, the opera, and classical music in America), it certainly could have been handled 525,600 times better here in the UK. At least now with not one, but two vaccines on the way, theatre workers can keep holding on knowing that there's a spotlight at the end of the tunnel.
Why good theatre is worth paying for
It almost seems like a miracle that UK theatres managed to even run socially distanced performances in 2020. But with a lack of much government funding, they really had no choice. The industry had to adapt. And we got some amazing innovations out of it: a revival of American drive-in cinema, drive-in live performances, socially distanced shows like Sleepless, and so much more. We should be eternally grateful for the sheer amount of shows and performances that we were able to watch online while in lockdown. We should also feel rather guilty that many of them were available to stream for free...
Life and art form a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship. The performing arts prosper when there's an audience around to enjoy them, and they leave everlasting impressions that shape who we are and how we interact with our environment. We pay good money to be entertained and to support the livelihoods of artists who have a unique story to tell, and in turn, we walk out of the theatre inspired. Whether we take ideas from the experience to create our own art, or simply just sing along to our favourite musical numbers and quote dialogue, we are bound to keep coming back for an encore to relive those feel-good moments of being immersed into a whole new world.
Artists are essential workers too
For #LoveTheatreDay this year, try and imagine a lockdown without any art for us to enjoy. That means no books, no films, no paintings, no pictures, no songs, no music, no plays, no musicals. Nothing. Would you have survived such boredom? Now imagine a whole lifetime without theatres, cinemas, galleries, museums, concert halls, libraries, and bookstores. Would life even be any fun at all? It's difficult to picture such a world...
But the future doesn't have to be so bleak. Today, we should remember the artists and those behind the scenes who put their blood, sweat, and tears into making our lives all the more interesting. They deserve our unwavering support, which is why we should keep booking tickets; keep buying CDs, books, and paintings; keep donating to our favourite theatres and arts organisations. Because only then can we be sure that the curtains will rise and stay risen.