The news is completely dominated at the moment by the coronavirus pandemic and the theatre industry, being based on getting people together in close proximity, is going to be affected more than most. A recently published article in the Stage brought home the implications very clearly….
“The past week has been dramatic as the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global health emergency. In London, anxiety around it has escalated. The Evening Standard’s front page last Thursday said the virus was spreading fast. That same night as I travelled home on the tube after watching a play at London’s National Theatre…..” Richard Jordan in The Stage (to read the full article click here).
Events are of course moving incredibly quickly with the UK government having now advised the public not to go to the theatre, several theatres immediately closing their doors and a general outcry from the Arts community asking for government help, which is unlikely to be forthcoming for the simple reason that almost every other industry is making similar requests; the pot of government funding is only so big!
The coronavirus will eventually pass and commentators are already taking about the ‘Post-Corona’ world. For the theatre world, this just might be an opportunity for small and emerging companies; both writers and performers. Perhaps a lot of privately-run venues will be forced to offer ticket splits to small operators in order just to keep their doors open and turnover flowing. Perhaps there will be more community theatre productions if many large, professional companies go to the wall. Maybe even some large privately-owned venues will end up being taking over by local authorities and having to become more user-friendly as a result. Coronavirus just might create the biggest breath of fresh air for the theatre world in a generation, if not longer!