WATCH - Spectacular fireworks as venues light up in red to fight for events industry
PUBLISHED: 13:29 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:56 13 August 2020
Arts venues and buildings across Suffolk have been lighting up in red to highlight the plight of the events industry.
Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion, Snape Maltings Concert Hall and the Orwell Bridge were among more than 700 locations nationwide floodlit in red on Tuesday night.
The aim was to support the national We Make Events/Red Alert campaign, calling for urgent help to prevent more venue closures.
The stage crew at Britten Pears Arts turned Snape Maltings Concert Hall red last night, together with staff from Synergy Audio in Rendlesham.
On Monday Synergy also lit up their site in Rendlesham. Spectacular fireworks were provided by Phoenix Fireworks.
Tim Speight, technical manager of Synergy Audio, said: “The whole occasion was staged as part of We Make Events and Light It In Red - and all had to be done with no audience.”
He said there seemed to be a disparity between the way many other businesses were able to open, but not the events industry.
MORE: Why was the Orwell Bridge lit up in red?
“I can go to a hairdresser and a pub, but I still can’t go to a show. The New Wolsey have scrapped their autumn and Christmas shows and now the Colchester Mercury has cancelled its panto too.”
Mr Speight said: “We want the government to recognise the situation.” He called for it to work with the industry to help find a way out of the situation and to provide funding.
Roger Wright, chief executive of Britten Pears Arts, said: “In normal times the arts and live events sector is a significant contributor to the UK’s economy. Venues are currently still unable to re-open for live events with audiences. The economic impact of the pandemic is being felt not only by venues, but also by the freelance community of performers, production teams and technicians without whom events are impossible.
“At Britten Pears Arts we are currently supporting local musicians through inviting them to perform outdoors for our visitors to Snape Maltings and we are ready to re-start indoor events safely for small and physically distanced audiences as soon as the government guidance allows.”
MORE: Suffolk companies unite to help save events industry
Andy Cracknell, company director of Breeze Events, which lit up the Spa Pavilion, said: “It was great to be able to join with over 700 venues and suppliers to light up over 700 venues.
“It was an opportunity to show members of the public that without backstage crew, front of house staff, cleaners and caterers there is no entertainment industry.
“We as an industry have been the first to close and will be the last to reopen. Lighting the Spa Pavilion red was our opportunity to show the local community we as an industry are in a red light situation.”
The New Wolsey Theatre, which has had to cancel shows including its famous panto and is consulting over job losses, lit up on July 6 in support of the campaign.
Sue Lawther-Brown, the theatre’s head of communications, said: “The campaign is in support of all those many individuals and organisations involved in creating live events whose livelihoods are deeply impacted by Covid-19.
“At the New Wolsey Theatre we’re aware of so many people that have lost their incomes in the last few months, many of them freelancers and small businesses. Our industry will be impoverished if we lose these skills.”
Celebrities such as Nile Rodgers, Peter Gabriel, New Order, Frank Skinner, Leona Lewis, The Cure, Frank Turner, Paloma Faith, Imogen Heap, Doc Brown, and Trevor Horn have all backed the national campaign, which aims to help a million workers.
Organised by international events association PLASA, it is calling for the extension of the furlough scheme until the industry is back at work, for grants to be made available to businesses throughout the events supply chain, and for the extension of the self-employment scheme.
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