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Pantomime Producer Michael Harrison Gives the Government a Deadline to Determine 'No Earlier Than' Date For Reopening Theatres

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Pantomime Producer Michael Harrison Gives the Government a Deadline to Determine 'No Earlier Than' Date For Reopening Theatres

Pantomime producer Michael Harrison has given the government a deadline of August 3 to confirm 'no earlier than' dates for the reopening of theatres, The Stage reports. He said that theatres require this time frame to offer "absolutely the shortest time to get the production process going".

Without this guidance, Harrison said that pantomimes across the country are at risk, not having enough time to have their performances ready by Christmas.

"But I'm not just saying this for pantomime, I want the roadmap for theatre," he said. "If we were able to get the Palladium pantomime on, then there will be other West End shows that would do the same. Pantomime would be part of rejuvenating the sector."

This comes after the UK government recently announced a £1.57 billion rescue package to help the nation's cultural, arts and heritage institutions weather the impact of COVID-19. As BroadwayWorld previously reported, the funding will go to support struggling theatres, museums, galleries, music venues, heritage sites and independent cinemas. It includes £880 million of grants for the financial year to April 2021, supplemented by £270 million of repayable loans.

Harrison responded to culture secretary Oliver Dowden's recent statements on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which included concerns about the interactive nature of pantomimes causing high transmission risk.

"Why is he making statements like that and not saying to us 'don't use those things'?" Harrison said. "If they said, could you open with this criteria and we couldn't, then we couldn't, but at least we could have been offered the opportunity to answer those questions."

Read more on The Stage.


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