Chairs' Letter: Please Help The Arts Survive

The performing arts are battling for survival at a time when theatre matters more than ever. It’s not only the West End, the annual panto, world-class musicals, dance, opera and Shakespeare – it’s the creative and outreach work happening around the country in our diverse communities, outdoors, in pop-up spaces, at festivals and online.

Theatre tackles contemporary issues head-on. With Black Lives Matter stirring our national consciousness, theatre can play a critical role, inside and outside the sector, in challenging, educating and informing.

Theatre is a national success story, vital to Britain’s economic prosperity. Theatre attracted 34 million visitors last year, employs 300,000, promotes tourism; and generates huge tax revenues, including VAT of £130m in London alone.

Our industry depends on the £1.3 billion of annual ticket sales which has now disappeared, with disastrous effects on companies, employees and freelancers. Even with a 1 metre social distancing rule we could only fill around 25% of our seats – not a financially viable option.

Without immediate and substantial support, theatres and performing arts companies will inevitably close and tens of thousands of artistic careers will be cut short.

We urge readers to lobby Government and parliamentarians and join our fight for the survival of UK theatre.

Dame Margaret Hodge, Chair, Theatre Royal Stratford East

Glenn Earle, Chair, Young Vic

Robert Delamere, Chair, ETT

Ben Monks, Chair, Deafinitely Theatre

Geraldine Brodie, Chair, Actors Touring Company

Dame Joan Ruddock, Chair, The Albany Deptford

Luke Johnson, Chair, Almeida Theatre

Amanda Parker, Chair, artsdepot

Chris Lawrence, Chair, Blue Elephant Theatre

Charles Glanville, Chair, Boundless Theatre

Simon Millson, Chair, British Youth Music Theatre

Simon Johnson, Chair, Bush Theatre

Kate McGrath and Isobel Colchester, Co-Chairs, Camden People’s Theatre

Prue Skene, Chair, Cardboard Citizens

Richard Philipps, Chair, Cheek By Jowl

David Micklem, Chair, Chris Goode and Company

Kim Evans, Chair, Clean Break

Lucy Davies, Chair, Clod Ensemble

Vicki Busfield, Chair, CoDa Dance Company

Benjamin Yeoh, Chair, Coney

Catherine Rowan, Chair, Culture & Libraries Committee, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure

Lord Browne of Madingley, Chair, Donmar

Áine Duffy, Chair, Duckie

Dana Kohava Segal, Chair, Emergency Exit Arts

Dr Harry Brunjes, Chair, English National Opera & London Coliseum

Mark Beddy, Chair, English Touring Opera

Mark Hawes, Chair, Frantic Assembly

Sean Egan, Chair, Fuel

Sarah Howard, Chair, Graeae Theatre Company

Kevin Walton, Chair, Green Shoes Arts

Delphine Brand, Chair, Hackney Empire

Dawn Harrison-Wallace, Chair, Half Moon Theatre

David Tyler, Chair, Hampstead Theatre

Donna Munday, Chair, Headlong

Melissa Butcher, Chair, Immediate Theatre

Natasha Freedman, Chair, Improbable Theatre

Dawn Austwick, Chair, Kiln

Bernard Donoghue, Chair, LIFT

Joseph Seelig OBE, Chair, London International Mime Festival

Lisa Burger, Chair, Lyric Hammersmith

Jodi Myers, Chair, Musical Theatre Network

Sir Damon Buffini, Chair, National Theatre

Charlotte Mooney, Ockham’s Razor

Lisa Mead, Chair, Oily Cart

Nick Clarry, Chair, The Old Vic

Charlie Thompson, Chair, Out of Joint

Kim Grant, Chair, Paines Plough

Sarah King, Chair, Polka Theatre for Children

James Freedman, Chair, Punchdrunk

Simon Turner, Chair, The Roundhouse

Anthony Burton CBE, Chair, The Royal Court Theatre

Lady Heywood, acting Chair, Royal Opera House

Nigel Higgins, Chair, Sadler’s Wells

Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE, Chair, Shakespeare’s Globe

Heather Rabbatts, Chair, Soho Theatre

Michelle Smith, Chair, Spare Tyre

Robin Saphra, Chair, Stagetext

Georgina Philippou, Chair, Stratford Arts Trust

Karen West-Whylie, Chair, Studio 3 Arts

Deepa Patel, Chair, Tamasha Theatre Company

Sunita Pandya, Chair, Tara Arts

Gareth Hughes, Chair, Theatre Centre

Sioban Whitney Low, Chair, Theatre Peckham

Elizabeth Lynch MBE, Chair, Theatre-Rites

Sophie Scott, Chair, Told by an Idiot

John Langley, Chair, Unicorn Theatre

Jonathan Meth, Chair, Vital Xposure

Nick Starr CBE, Chair, Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick

Wai Mun Yoon, Chair, Yellow Earth Theatre Company