Arts sector at 'breaking point' as a result of lockdown

  • Watch Victoria Davies' report

West Country businesses in the arts sector are pleading for continued support, as they are expected to be some of the last to return to normal.

The Bristol Old Vic theatre has said it will not emerge from the pandemic the same way it went in, and that the wider industry is losing potential artists as well as revenue.

The Arts Council England has handed out 187 emergency grants to South West businesses in the sector to keep them afloat, totaling almost £47 million.

However, many say it's not enough to pull the industry from the brink - with the Old Vic alone forced to make 40% of its staff redundant.

As well as iconic metropolitan venues, smaller stages are feeling the pinch even more.

Strode Theatre in Street has just one paid member of staff remaining on the books and is relying on neighbours rather than ticket sales to survive, but it says it's more worried about the impact losing the arts will have on the community.

There are positive signs on the horizon, as the four stage plan to take the country out of lockdown does include reopening inside venues - though to a reduced capacity.

Whether it's relying on the kindness of the community, or having faith in the appetite to pay for live performances as soon as they hit the stage, those in the arts say the show will go on.

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