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Sonia Friedman Says Rescue Package Shows The Arts 'Are Not An Added Extra'

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Sonia Friedman Says Rescue Package Shows The Arts 'Are Not An Added Extra'

Leading producer Sonia Friedman has commented on the UK Government's rescue package for the arts (announced last night) in an article for the Evening Standard - read the full piece here. Friedman says that "this historic fiscal support recognises that the arts are not an added extra, but a national necessity that enrich all our lives in countless ways. We take them for granted at our peril."

Friedman, who is is responsible for West End and international hit shows like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and The Ferryman, adds that the fund "will go a huge way to ensuring there is a theatre industry still standing when it is safe to resume performance and open our doors again" - and that the arts want to "play our part" in the nation's recovery. The rescue package, she says, represents "both good fiscal sense and a deep faith in the power of the arts.

"Our country's artists and arts organisations are uniquely positioned to provide ways of imagining our country's future. It is in our nation's theatres, in our dance and concert halls, our opera houses, our village fetes and our comedy clubs that we will come together, to share our stories, make sense of our experiences, escape our daily worries and imagine our futures. Put simply, our cultural life will help us to heal."

Friedman points out that this is "only the first step towards cultural recovery", but provides a vital lifeline to arts organisations. Going forward, guidance from Government on safely reopening is needed.

Friedman also emphasises that the rescue fund needs to be distributed in an equitable way that "preserves a rich and complex cultural ecosystem and protects venues, companies and individual artists alike, including the hundreds of thousands of freelancers that sustain and fire our industry".

But she stresses that this is a positive moment for the sector, which can "now begin mapping out our respective paths to the reopening, recovery and renewal of our glorious theatre industry."

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