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Theatre and event venues join ‘Red Alert’ tonight

Buildings and venues around Cardiff will light up in red tonight (Tuesday 11th August) as part of a UK-wide day of action highlighting the urgent government help the sector needs during the Covid-19 crisis.

The live events industry across the UK will come together to help save the live events and entertainment sector, which is said to be on the verge of collapsing without financial support from the government. Hundreds of venues are expected to turn their lights red at 9pm in over 20 cities across the UK to symbolise the industry going into Red Alert.

In Wales, more than 50 venues and events businesses have signed up to turn red to stress the need for support, including:

Cardiff and Newport: Cardiff Castle, Principality Stadium, City Hall, Motorpoint Arena, Wales Millennium Centre, New Theatre, Chapter, St Davids Hall, venues on Womanby St, USW Atrium, Dolman Theatre, ICC Wales

South Wales Valleys: Blackwood Miners Institute, Newbridge Memo, Borough Abergavenny, Theatr Brycheiniog

North Wales: Venue Cymru, Theatr Colwyn, Pontio

West Wales: Ffwrnes Theatre Llanelli, The Lyric Carmarthen, Miners Hall Ammanford, Pontardawe Arts Centre.

Sarah Hemsley-Cole, Director of SC Productions Ltd, an events production company based in Cardiff, said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on the live events and arts sector here in Wales, not only our theatres, but our touring shows, stadium shows, live music venues and outdoor arts have been decimated by the pandemic.

“In Wales alone there are in excess of 7,000 individuals employed within the creative industries, and with the government’s furlough scheme ending in October, and with no sense of a time line when events and venues can re-open – many are being forced into poverty debt and despondency.”

Actor, singer and comedian, Mike Doyle, added“I work as a self employed entertainer and have done for 40 years from achieving a level of success to living the up and down life of an entertainer/actor until that moment the phone rang … “Sorry, Mike but ALL your contracts with ALL the cruise lines have been cancelled and you will not be paid for any of these.” Then…another phone call … “Sorry, Mike the rest of your Rocking With Laughter tour is off”….with trying to make sense of this my son was in Hospital on a ventilator with COVID-19.

“I carry a five-piece band and a support act, a full PA system and lighting rig – that’s 10 people just in my little show that are also affected, the knock-on effect is huge.”

PLASA, the international membership body for companies and individuals in events technology, says tonight’s event hopes to raise awareness for over a million professionals at risk of losing their jobs, 600,000 of whom deliver outdoor events, around 70% of the workforce are freelance. It says the imminent closure of the self-employed income support scheme at the end of the month threatens their livelihood. Unlike other industries, events, festivals, and performances have been unable to safely reopen due to social distancing guidance. PLASA says with no government support on the horizon for the event supply chain, redundancies have already begun, and research indicates that 25% of companies will have served redundancy notices by end of August, rising to 70% by the end of December.

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