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Government-backed theatre insurance scheme possible

Fully open theatres still some way off
Fully open theatres still some way off

The Stage and other newspapers are suggesting a government-backed insurance scheme for theatre could soon be approved.

Many producers have joined the clamour for such a scheme, to help protect companies from further closures. This would underwrite the cost of mounting a production that might not be able to operate at full – in other words profitable – capacity under its own steam due to continuing coronavirus restrictions.

According to the Daily Telegraph, West End producers – who have most to gain – have agreed in principle with culture secretary Oliver Dowden for a government-backed scheme.

The newspaper claimed plans are now being assessed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Treasury, which is in turn awaiting confirmation of the Prime Minister’s decision on the next stage of emergence from national lockdown. That plan is due later today (Mon), and it seems likely that restrictions will not be fully lifted by June 21 in the light of recent increases of Covid variant transmision.

The Telegraph claims the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport would support such an insurance plan, which is estimated to cost around £180 million over the next year.

The scheme would make it possible for national tours and West End productions, the cost of which can run into many millions of pounds, to go ahead regardless of the status of the final production run being clear.

This would make it possible for production plans and rehearsals to go ahead without first ensuring that a run will be permitted.


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