Socially distanced protests meant to criticise the UK Government's approach towards the art sector postponed
Originally scheduled to take place on 11 July, the planned demonstration will now be put on hold in light of the UK Government's recently announced £1.57 billion rescue package for the arts. The protest in London was organised to criticise the Government's treatment of theatre and the performing arts during the pandemic after a long period of inaction.
London protest against Government inaction in supporting the arts now paused thanks to new support package
After Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed on 5 July 2020 that the arts sector would finally be thrown a lifeline, the upcoming protest event has now been put on pause pending further details after it was originally set to commence at 12pm on 11 July at Trafalgar Square, the heart of the West End.
Supported by the Les Mis-inspired hashtag #CanYouHearThePeopleSing, the protest would have likely seen musical numbers sung and chanted during the event, an idea thought up by Sarah Jane Price.
Darren Bell: "There's a long journey to the recovery of theatre and live events but we welcome this government reaction..."
The event's organiser Darren Bell stated: "Our peaceful protest was to highlight that theatre had been left behind by the government's COVID-19 recovery schemes. In light of the government support announced on 5 July, we have taken the decision to pause the protest on 11 July until the full detail of the financial aid is understood.
"The amount of money in the rescue package is more than anyone anticipated. For some context, the ACE National Portfolio Organisation investment budget is an average of £410m a year (£1.64 billion over 4 years from 2018-2022). Such vital support will undoubtedly go a long way to ensure that our industry remains afloat whilst a roadmap to reopening is developed.
"We have not forgotten those who have been so far excluded from financial support and who are in desperate need right now. We don't know who will and who won't benefit from this and the details will need more scrutiny to know if it really meets the needs of the sector. But we feel it is right to pause at this time to give this lifeline the chance it deserves to make a difference and reach the organisations and people that so desperately need it.
"There's a long journey to the recovery of theatre and live events but we welcome this government reaction to the determined lobbying of our sector. Whether it has been through social noise, MP letters, signing petitions or supporting proposed protests, your support has made a difference and we are determined to stand together through this.
"Once we have the chance to review and discuss the details, we want to make sure we channel the momentum and commitment you have shown in the right direction. For now, we support SOLT's statement in response to the statement from DCMS.
"Thank you for your continued support."