#LightItInRed: Why The Government Needs To Help The Struggling Events Industry

On Monday 6th July, the country will be lit up in red as the event industry shines a light on the critical challenges they currently face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Unable to put on live events and performances, many theatres and event companies have been struggling to survive the loss of revenue, relying on donations from their audiences to get by.

With little money coming in and no end in sight, even large theatres like the National Theatre and Globe Theatre face permanent closure.

The impending loss of our cultural sector is devastating, not just for audiences or the 290,000 people employed in theatre, but also for those of us who dream of working in the industry as actors or musicians, creators and designers, front of house staff or backstage crew.

Despite the fact that the creative industry is one of the largest contributors to the UK economy (£111.7 billion contributed in 2018) it has so far received very little support from the government.

The #LightItInRed initiative is a desperate plea from a collapsing industry for a temporary bailout.

The initiative, created by Steven Haynes from Clearsound Productions and Phillip Berryman from The Backstage Theatre Jobs Forum, takes its inspiration from the recent #NightOfLight2020 in Germany, which saw 9,000 buildings light up in red on the 22nd June.

Similarly, the UK’s #LightItInRed intends to create its own movement that would see the government offer grants and  extend the furlough and self-employment schemes until theatres can actually open for business and hold live events, which at the moment are still prohibited.

So far, over 300 groups have signed up for the initiative, two of which are in Nottingham city centre

So far, over 300 groups have signed up for the initiative, two of which, the Nottingham Arts Theatre and Squire Performing Arts Centre, are in Nottingham city centre.

Although student groups are currently not allowed to hold any physical events, so therefore cannot light any buildings on campus, members of Musicality and TEC PA & Lighting are writing statements of solidarity and support.

TEC and Blowsoc are also planning to light their social media red, and encourage any others who wish to show their support for the movement to do the same.

The event industry is the heart and soul of our country, something that I feel has become more apparent over lockdown

The event industry is the heart and soul of our country, something that I feel has become more apparent over lockdown, as we tune into various digital performances and reminisce about nights out, concerts, annual balls and performances.

Hopefully this movement will mark the start of a conversation between the industry and the government that will save our creative sector.

For more information on this project, go to https://www.lightitinred.co.uk/.

Jessica Rough 

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Featured image courtesy of Bahman Farzad via Flickr. Image license found hereNo changes were made to this image. 

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