Culture minister invited to see Manchester Covid impact first-hand

Writer:

Paul Genty

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“Venues once filled with endless possibility are rapidly nearing their last gasp” – city councillor.

Manchester City Council has invited culture minister Caroline Dineage to meet the city’s leaders, to see the scale of the region’s problems six months after lockdown began.

A meeting with the minister is seen as vital in demonstrating the support still needed. Doors are still closed on theatres and live venues and many administrators are talking to staff about cutting jobs if they are unable to open soon. 

The new invitation follows a letter to the Culture Secretary and Chancellor in July, asking for additional support for the sector in Manchester. No direct response was received last time, and concerns continue to grow about the consequences of continued closure.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, the council’s executive member for culture, leisure and skills, said: "Nearly six months on from their forced closure, our theatres and live entertainment venues are on their knees.

"We can't wait one hundred years for the Sleeping Beauty that Manchester's world-renowned theatre and arts scene has become since Covid, to magically wake up.

"Continued support for the sector is vital, not just today but also tomorrow. We urge the culture minister to make the trip to Manchester and see for herself what's happening across our city.

"This is a real-life story about all the people who make the magic happen and whose livelihoods depend on our venues.

"These same venues, once filled with wonder, excitement and endless possibility, are now rapidly nearing their last gasp. They need direct intervention and additional support right now.”

Restrictions on the reopening of indoor performance spaces continues to make many theatre productions unviable. Reopening plans have also been affected by additional local measures, and many venues continue to face serious financial pressures.

Councillor Rahman added: "Venues need direct intervention and additional support right now – to keep them breathing until they're allowed to open up their doors to audiences again, as well as a proper plan that tells them when they can do this, and under what terms."

c2019 TheatreReviewsNorth