LONDON — As much of Britain’s economy emerged from the coronavirus lockdown, its
So they made a song and dance about it.
Scores of actors, technicians and
The demonstrators were highlighting the prospect of a bleak Christmas season without the hundreds of pantomimes usually staged across the U.K.
Pantos — a raucous blend of fairy-tale plots, topical references, slapstick, song, dance and innuendo — are as much a part of the British holiday season as turkey and presents. The star characters are the Dames, bawdy female characters played by men.
“This is probably the only time I’ll get into a frock this year,” said actor Tim Hudson, who in normal times would be preparing for his 21st panto season. Instead he donned a patchwork floral dress and auburn wig and joined the protest.
He said the
The coronavirus pandemic brought down the curtains at Britain’s
Some fear Britain’s world-renowned
It ls already too late to save this year’s pantos, which many
“Pantos sustain whole years,” said Dec Togher, a technician at a West End
When Britain went into lockdown, the government stepped in to pay the wages of millions of furloughed employees. But most people who work in the
Britain is bracing for a spike in unemployment as job support schemes are wound down over the next few months. In addition, many arts workers have been stung by the Conservative government's suggestion that it will only support jobs that are “viable.”
The Nimax group of six West End
Other Nimax shows such as “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and the musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” will have to wait until social distancing rules are eased.
“We know audiences are keen to come back, because the ticket sales are great,” said Nimax chief executive Nica Burns. “That was a relief.”
She says operating at a loss is a better option than laying off her venues' 200 full-time workers. But it’s far from a return to normal.
“We cannot open the bulk of
The government's culture department said in a statement that it has created a 1.57 billion pound ($2 billion) “cultural recovery fund" for the arts and "we will get full audiences back in
Burns says the arts were not on the government’s “front burner” early in the pandemic but she thinks ministers are listening now.
“We want to earn our way," she said. "We are a successful industry and we don’t want to have our hands out all the time. We want to be working.”
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
Jill Lawless, The Associated Press