Aberdeen Performing Arts has joined forces with theatres across the UK as part of a national campaign led by theatre designers in response to the challenging situation the theatre sector faces.
As much of the UK entertainment and hospitality industries open to customers in July, theatres remain closed, unable to stage live performances. From early on in lockdown, the design community has been uncomfortably aware of the negative visual imagery and sadness around closed theatres, usually places of gathering, teeming with life.
In collaboration with theatres across the UK, #scenechange has launched #MissingLiveTheatre and wrapped theatre buildings with a positive message of hope and visibility to the industry. From Monday, July 6, Aberdeen Performing Arts will join the campaign in wrapping His Majesty’s Theatre for one week to show support for the industry.
#scenechange said: “As businesses begin to reopen, the doors of theatres remain firmly shut, whilst we navigate a way back to live performance. As we launch #MissingLiveTheatre, we want to bring joy and colour to theatres across the UK and Ireland, whilst highlighting the ongoing impact of Covid-19, and what we as an industry and local communities are missing.”
Aberdeen Performing Arts chief executive, Jane Spiers, said: “We are proud to take part in the national campaign #MissingLiveTheatre, to continue to highlight the challenges the theatre sector faces as our venues remain closed for the foreseeable future. The campaign particularly recognises the crucial role our backstage teams play, from set and costume designers to sound and lighting technicians, wardrobe and stage managers.
“It’s an incredible feat and team effort behind the scenes to ensure the show goes on night after night and we would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to our backstage teams and tell them we can’t wait to be together again.”
Over 95% of the Aberdeen Performing Arts workforce remains on furlough through the government job retention scheme, and many team members have volunteered across the city, lending vital to support and skills to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief lighting technician, Greig Dempster, has worked at His Majesty’s Theatre for 23 years. While on furlough, Greig has been using his technical expertise to 3D print facemasks for the NHS.
Greig Dempster, said: “I’ve been using my technical knowledge and experience in 3D to print face shields for the NHS. We’ve put together a local group and supplied shields to the ICU wards and surgery theatres. I wanted to help in some way and thought I could use my free time and my printer to help out a good cause.”
Participating venues across the UK include the National Theatre to Manchester Royal Exchange, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Lyric Belfast, Sherman Theatre, and throughout the West End of London.
This week sees further theatres nationwide joining #MissingLiveTheatre, with over 50 venues already committed including His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth Theatre, Dundee Rep and Pitlochry Festival Theatre.