Today, 3rd July, hundreds of theatre designers, in collaboration with theatres across the UK, have come together to launch #MissingLiveTheatre, a campaign led by #scenechange, by wrapping iconic theatres including the Lyric Theatre in a positive message of hope and visibility to the industry.

#scenechange began as a small email exchange ‘Dialogue in Strange Times’ between a group of set & costume designers. Now it is a wide community of designers covering the breadth of the discipline and growing to over 1000 members, promoting ways of coming together in conversation and action in support of the theatre industry.

As much of the NI hospitality industry opens to customers from Friday 3 July, theatres across the country remain closed, unable to stage live performances. From early on in lock-down, designers within the theatre community have been uncomfortably aware of the negative visual imagery and sadness around the closed buildings. Theatres which are usually teeming with life feel stark and bleak, areas padlocked and some even shut away behind hazard tape to prevent them inadvertently being places of gathering.

Today, across 5 prominent theatres in the UK – the National Theatre, Manchester Royal Exchange, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Lyric Theatre Belfast and Sherman Theatre Cardiff – #scenechange, in conjunction with theatre staff, have wrapped theatres with pink barrier tape reading ‘Missing Live Theatre’. The baton will then be passed to venues throughout the West End on Saturday. The week beginning 6 July will see further theatres nationwide joining #MissingLiveTheatre, with over 50 venues already committed including the RSC, Sadler’s Wells, Theatr Clwyd, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Sheffield Theatres, Ambassador Theatre Group and Theatre Royal Plymouth amongst many others.

Supporting the campaign Adrian Mullan, Head of Production at the Lyric Theatre, said:

“Over the past few months colleagues across the industry have been working hard to highlight that the situation is critical for the entire arts sector including theatres all over the UK and Ireland. We welcome the £4m short-term relief that was announced this week by the Department for Communities, but we know that in the long-term we are likely to feel the effects of the restrictions much more than any other industry. We are so proud of the Lyric and especially the freelancers who are the backbone of our industry. By supporting the #Missing-LiveTheatre we are showing our solidarity with the design community who play a vital role within our industry, as well as continue to highlight the physical impacts of this crisis on our venue. It is also important that we show our hope and optimism towards welcoming people back safely to live theatre, hopefully someday soon.”

The team at #scenechange, which includes local designer Ciaran Bagnall, added:

“As businesses begin to reopen, the doors of theatres remain firmly shut, whilst we navigate a way back to live performance. Today as we launch #MissingLiveTheatre, we want to bring joy and colour to theatres across the UK and Ireland, whilst highlighting the ongoing impact of Covid-19, and what we as an industry and local communities are missing.”

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