Aspect Hustles and Handouts: A Robust Yr Forward for U.Okay. Theater Employees
Freelancers — each actors and backstage crew members like Boucher — are the lifeblood of Britain’s theaters, making up an estimated 70 % of the nation’s 290,000 employees within the performing arts, based on UK Theater, a commerce physique. However that workforce’s flexibility makes it notably uncovered to any modifications in coronavirus restrictions.
Dealing with a brand new wave of the virus, England on Monday went right into a nationwide lockdown once more. Theatrical performances are banned for months, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated restrictions might final till March 31, which suggests Britain’s estimated 200,000 freelance theater employees are as soon as extra dealing with monetary hassle and searching for methods to get by.
Boucher guessed it will be April, at greatest, earlier than he might work once more in a theater. On Monday, with payments piling up, he utilized to the Theater Artists Fund, a physique that offers emergency grants to theater freelancers imperiled by the pandemic. He hoped for 1,000 kilos, or about $1,350.
“I do know it sounds foolish,” Boucher stated, “however £1,000 can actually go a great distance in the intervening time.”
The Theatre Artists Fund, which was created by the movie and theater director Sam Mendes as a response to the pandemic, gave out round 4,600 grants final 12 months in three funding rounds, Eva Mason, a spokeswoman for this system, stated in an e mail. It reopened to functions on Monday and acquired “lots of” in two days, she added.
Just some weeks in the past, Britain’s theaters gave the impression to be on the verge of a triumphant return. On Dec. 5, “Six,” the hit musical concerning the wives of Henry VIII, returned to the West Finish, in London, alongside a number of different exhibits together with a live performance model of “Les Misérables.” However then restrictions had been tightened within the metropolis, forcing these to close, after which got here the nationwide lockdown — England’s third since March.
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