Thank you for your patience as we wait for guidance on re-opening.
It is now over a year since Covid-19 closed all theatres, music halls and cultural venues from Broadway to the Lyric Theatre. I don’t think anybody could tell one year ago just how long this would continue, or foretell quite how devastating the pandemic would be to so many and expose the vulnerability of the arts sector.
Unlike every other sector, we have not been allowed to reopen our doors to audiences since last March. We greatly welcome the news last week from the NI Executive that indoor cultural venues will be able to reopen from 24th May. While this has been confirmed for cinemas and galleries, this has not yet been confirmed for theatres, so we are still waiting guidance on this.
During lockdown we have all benefited from access to art and music, drama and storytelling – at home, on our radios, our TVs and our screens. This has been a vital part of our healing, and will continue to be a vital part of our recovery. This is the power of arts and this is power of theatre. What is even more powerful is having that shared experience together – at a concert, at a festival, in a theatre. We can’t wait for that day to come.
The pathway to reopening is very positive news, but it is not straight-forward for the arts sector. We need sufficient notice to enable us to reopen in a safe and sustainable way, and importantly we need financial support to offset any social distancing that will need to take place in the auditorium. Until this clarity is given, we are still unsure when we can welcome our audiences back, but we will continue to work with the NI Executive, the Department for Communities and the Arts Council on confirming a reopening date for theatres.
We will continue to keep you updated and look forward to sharing some news soon.
In the meantime, take care of yourselves.