Lord Lloyd Webber says LBC cinemas have become a ‘sacrificial lamb’

25 June 2021, 09:12 | Updated: Jun 25, 2021, 10:03 AM

Andrew Lloyd Webber told LBC the theater industry has become a ‘sacrificial lamb’ as he renews calls for the government to hand over the results of its coronavirus pilot events program.

Composer and theater manager Lord Lloyd Webber and entertainment figures have launched a lawsuit to force ministers to release details of the pilot covid events.

Before a court hearing Lord Lloyd Webber told Nick Ferrari today: “I just want the theater to be open everywhere. The regional theaters are on their knees. The performers, the musicians, it’s terrible.

“It’s been a year to the day since we hosted the first pilot event at the London Palladium. We still haven’t seen anything from that trial.

“Public Health England officials have no idea what the theater is and how it is operated. We’ve kind of become a sacrificial lamb.

“You can have a pub that can put a badly ventilated marquee in their backyard… of course, you’re going to see the infections increase.

“I just don’t know what we can do now, but I heard last night that the judge had expedited the hearing.

“The government did not treat us the way it should. We just want to see what’s in this report.

Lord Lloyd Webber accused the government of failing to “value culture” and said he had never spoken or met Boris Johnson.

“It’s a bit strange, isn’t it, I’ve been doing theater for over 50 years.

” I will tell him [the prime minister], the country really, really needs its theater. I don’t think they understand that. Without our theater, without shows, our lives are immensely poorer. “

Event planners expected the report’s findings to be available last week, but the release was delayed without explanation, causing chaos in the planning of shows and big events for the rest of the summer.

Figures from the entertainment industry say they are being treated unfairly compared to major sporting events, which have been allowed to take place in front of large crowds.

“The short-term success is striking,” the live events industries said in a statement yesterday.

“Research indicates that the potential four-week delay before the reopening will result in the cancellation of approximately 5,000 live music concerts, as well as numerous theatrical productions across the country, costing hundreds of millions of pounds. lost income. “

West End and Broadway producer Sonia Friedman said: “The government continues to demonstrate a deliberate lack of understanding of the extraordinary value of the theater industry and the way we operate.

“We can only fully reopen once. We need absolute clarity on when and how we can fully reopen – to bring a show back to full production, it takes months to plan, rehearse and build a lead. at the box office.

“It is also incumbent on the government to cover potential losses on its lyrics and to provide an insurance plan for the theater and live performances that it has, easily and rightly, provided to the film and television industries.

“Right now, the delay and lack of government arrangements and support for the commercial sector have precluded our full reopening, but its hesitation and lack of clarity prevents us from even being able to develop a plan on how we let’s move forward to save the industry we love. “

Theater boss Cameron Mackintosh said: “Having been forced to close our theaters twice last year, the second time after the government urged reopening for Christmas, thus losing additional millions, a regime of Spouse insurance to protect us against another forced shutdown is vital.

“With most of the commercial theaters, we have had no direct financial support neither for our productions nor for the maintenance of our historic theaters.

“Opening without any protection is impossible for many producers, live event organizers and theater buildings across the country.

“Having contributed huge sums of money to the chessboard over the past decades, the theater is in desperate need of support in its hour of need or the government will be responsible for the disintegration of one of the most important assets. invaluable and irreplaceable of this country after centuries of being the envy of the world. “

Lord Lloyd Webber and other figures in live music have launched action to force the government to hand over the results of its coronavirus pilot events program.

The Events Research Program organized test events at sporting, musical and artistic venues to assess the safety of large gatherings during the pandemic.

In a statement, the group, which also includes musician Peter Gabriel, theater producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh and the music industry trade body Live, accused the government of “making it impossible to plan an entertainment business. live “by not sharing its findings.

Live shows on the program included the Brit Awards, the Download Festival music event and a pool tournament at Sheffield’s Crucible Theater.

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