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Perfect Forth Debuts :

Captivating Acapella Magic:

Normally at this time of year Edinburgh based Captivate Theatre Company would be mid rehearsals for there annual Edinburgh Fringe programme. In 2019 that programme saw over ten productions take to the stage ranging from Children’s Shakespeare shows, to dramatic plays and of course there renowned repertoire of full scale musicals.

Sadly, the ongoing pandemic as seen the closure of the entire theatrical industry, however some of those talented onstage performers from Captivate have joined with Acapella graduates to form a new wing of Captivate. Perfect forth is now officially entering the musical landscape and have released there first song and video.

The vocal group have chosen “If I could turn back time” the 1989 Cher classic taken from heart of Stone album. The song with lyrics and music by Diane Warren revived Cher’s career and sent into the stratosphere and in a twist of fate Cher herself did not like the song when she was first introduced to it.

Perfect Forth bring a rich vocal harmony to there take on the song thanks to the moving and inspired musical arrangement by Colum Findlay and warm and emotional lead vocal from Jess Nolan this is truly a fresh take on a modern classic.

The company have confirmed that this release forms part of a 21-song collection so there are many more videos and performances to come. Hopefully when restrictions allow the company will take to the stage. A company spokesperson said “ Here it is! Our debut release and only the first in a twenty-one-song project we are have been working for the past few months. We hope you enjoy this video and the many other exciting releases heading your way soon.”

perfect forth 2

The current Perfect forth company consists of: Soprano’s  Nadya Albertsson, Iona Thomson, Mezzo-Soprano’s Ailish Barry, Jess Nolan and Sasha Wood, Alto’s Emma Laing, Laura Preston and Erin Bowden, Tenor’s Oliver Payne, Colum Findlay, Baritone’s Lewis Kerr, Robbie Small, Bass David Ragg. The company is joined by George Stokes Vocal Percussionist.

With a debut as strong as this one, the only way is up for Perfect Forth so be sure to keep in touch with them as more performances come online hopefully they wont have to turn back time to long before they make there stage debut.

Perfect Forth can be found on Facebook, Instagram and via Youtube.  

Arts News!

Utilita and The Queen’s Cancel Drive In Tour:

Six the Musical at the Drive in and other shows cancel:

It has been confirmed by the individual productions including “Dinosaur World” and “The Tiger who came to Tea” that this summer’s planned Drive in tour promoted by Live Nation in collaboration with Utilita energy.

The tour was to feature the smash hit pop musical “SIX” their official statement from producers Kenny Wax, Wendy and Andy Barnes and George Stilies confirms: “This devastating news has come out of the blue and hit us all for six. We are so sorry to disappoint the thousands of fans who have booked tickets and sold out many dates on the tour. It is also a sad day for our West End and UK Tour Queens, who had already started rehearsals and our entire team of over 60 people who were all working so very hard to deliver a spectacular show  Despite the UK Government announcing Stage 3 of Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s road map permitting performances outdoors with an audience, the planned tour was due to visit 12 cities, several of which have since been identified as emerging Covid infection hot spots. We know that ultimately there is nothing more important than the safety and wellbeing of our company and the Six Queendom. We look forward to better times.”

Live Nation Entertainment have taken down all links to the productions from there ticket booking system as has Ticketmaster, However Live Nation did release a short statement “The latest developments regarding localised lockdowns means it has become impossible for us to continue with the series with any confidence”.

“SIX” did confirm that there combined UK and West End cast were in rehearsals for the tour when the plug was pulled, but fans of the Queens need not worry, The UK tour will return in 2021 and West End production at the Arts Theatre will return although it remains closed until the 27th September.

Whilst safety over both cast, crew and audiences must be top priority, it’s frustrating that producers were able to announce this tour without having the guidance from the government and while the industry welcomed the cash injection of £1.57 billion the guidance and route map came too late, that combined with the ongoing pandemic means this tour can’t be saved.

Ticketmaster confirms refunds will be issued directly to all ticket holders for productions within the next 7 days.

Arts News!

Theatre Vs Covid-19: Relief Funding.

Theatre Vs Covid-19: Relief Funding.

Where are we at now:

In our last Arts News Item published on June 21st we looked at the industry across Scotland and further field as it continues to struggle with the complete shut down of venues due to Covid-19. In the few weeks since the publication of that article there has been a seismic shift in emergency funding being injected into the industry. It seems that Government’s of  both Scotland and the UK have finally listened and taken the first steps in pulling the arts back from the cliff edge. So, let’s look at those developments a little closer.

Edinburgh Fringe receives a £1.25 Million lifeline:

edin festivals

On June 16th it was announced that the Edinburgh Fringe Society, the charity which oversees the annual extravaganza that is the Fringe was awarded Grants from Pivotal Enterprise Resilience fund for £149,00 and £100,000 from the City of Edinburgh Council. These grants were supplemented by the Scottish Government with a 6-year, interest free loan of £1million.

The Fringe Society confirmed that the money will be used to mitigate the significant losses incurred as a result of this year’s festival not going ahead as planned due to Covid-19.

The Society estimates the Fringe is worth around £200 million annually to the wider Scottish and UK economy, adding that thousands of artists and cultural entrepreneurs across the UK rely on the Fringe annually as a key milestone for employment.

Chief Executive Shona McCarthy said: “This funding is a life raft to the Fringe Society, enabling us to properly support the extensive ecosystem of artists, venues and businesses who rely on the Fringe. This festival is about much more than three weeks in August. It’s an embodiment of how culture and creativity unites us. In this incredibly difficult time, we are grateful to be working so closely with our partners at Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and City of Edinburgh Council on this common goal.”

Scottish Government £10million cash injection for the Arts:

Scottish parliment

On July 3rd the Scottish Government announced the creation of a targeted performing arts venues relief fund which will see £10 million injected into the Scottish arts industry. The fund is to be administered by Creative Scotland as its available to regularly funded organisations and Non RFO’s.

Announced by culture secretary Fiona Hyslop during that days First Minister’s press briefing, giving a real terms cash back up to her pledge she made a week previously.  The Secretary also made a strong point that £10M is nowhere near enough, although she described the fund as a “vital lifeline” that will help performing arts venues to continue beyond Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. The Secretary went on to say: “we don’t have the same powers as the UK Government to borrow billions to ensure that there is fiscal stimulus for the economy or indeed to support key sectors.”

In an pointed and well delivered opinion to the Culture Secretary at Westminster, Oliver Dowden, she went onto say “I think that there is a real responsibility now, if the UK Government really cares about culture and creativity, that they step up to the mark and help provide support.” She confirmed that if it did then the Scottish government would distribute its share of the Barnett Consequentials to “help this vital part of our society but also our economy”.

First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon commenting on the same press briefing went on to say: “We know this will not solve every problem facing our culture sector, and that more support is needed. But I hope this £10m will be a lifeline for theatres – and also send a signal of how important we believe arts and culture are, not just to our economy, but to our wellbeing too.”

UK Government £1.57 Billion investment for Britain’s Cultural, arts and Heritage institutions.

westminster

On July 6th the UK Government announced the biggest single financial investment in Britain’s Arts Industry in its history. Following the over whelming pressure brought to bear on Secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden this announcement which is an investment to protect Britain’s cultural, arts and heritage institutions

The break down of the funding is as follows

The £1.57 billion UK-wide funding will provide:
• £1.15 billion for cultural organisations in England, made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million grants.
• £100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.
• £120 million to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
• £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Wales (£59 million) and Scotland will receive £97 million due to the Consequentials of the Barnett Formula.

The £97 million is in addition to the £10 million previously announced by the Scottish Government.

The finer details of how the emergency grants and loans will be allocated have yet to be announced. However according to Dowden, they will be available to organisations “across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema.

The devolved administrations are responsible for the allocation of their respective share of the funding, However given that the English element is aimed across the entire swathe of the cultural sector, perhaps the Scottish allocation will follow in a similar spirit.

The previous Friday, Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop promised that if the UK government gave a support package to culture, the Scottish government would distribute its share of the Barnett Consequentials to “help this vital part of our society but also our economy” and this was further supported at the first minister press briefing on the 6th July when Sturgeon gave further assurances that the funding would support the arts “in every corner of our country”

Irrespective of how much of the funds will go to theatre, the bigger issue is how and indeed if  money will be delivered to those in the theatre industry who have already lost out. Namely the plethora of freelance workers, who make up 72% of culture workers, who were ineligible for either the furlough schemes, nor the Self Employed Income Support Scheme

Now the fund has been announced and its at the higher end of what was expected now is the time to deliver the fine detail as to how that cash will be distributed and we at Scotsgay Arts hope it will reach those most in need of it and its balanced and fair across the Scottish Cultural Landscape.

Theatre Artist Fund: £500,000 of help for Freelancers.

theatre artist fund

A new Theatre Artists Fund will provide emergency support for theatre workers and freelancers across the UK in need of financial support due to the impact of Covid-19 on the theatre sector. The fund has been developed by director and film maker Sam Mendes and is being administered by SOLT, (The Society of London Theatres) and UK Theatre. The Fund has been made possible due a £500,000 donation from streaming service Netflix.

The focus of the fund is to: “provide short-term relief to hundreds of theatre workers and freelancers across the UK, and particularly those from underrepresented groups disproportionately affected by the crisis.” And for theatre professionals who need urgent and critical financial support

Sam Mendes himself said: “We have created a fund to which the most vulnerable freelance theatre practitioners can now apply. It is specifically designed for theatre workers who find themselves at breaking point, for those unable to put food on the table or to pay bills, or for those considering leaving the profession altogether.”

Initially the fund is offering a £1,000 one-off emergency grant which can be used towards living costs. The First application period is for a week beginning Monday 6 to Monday 13 July 2020. Applications open and close at 12 noon. The fund will then confirm the outcome of the application by no later than Monday 27th July

The grant  scheme is open to theatre professionals who have worked in one or many role/s (within the qualifying sector) totalling at least 8 weeks between January 1 2019 and March 31 2020. They must be self-employed or unemployed and not furloughed.

The funders have a non-exhaustive list of 27 different job titles of those who qualify as eligible for support, ranging from onstage, to backstage, production admin and even front of house jobs provided they meet the other criteria.

Full details of the fund and how to apply go to:  https://theatreartists.fund

And Finally!

So, there we have it, an incredible change in the theatre industry landscape since our news item June 21st. Focusing on Scotland there is now in excessive of £108 million being injected into the industry, with artists and freelancers also having access to an additional £500,00 fund. The first critical step of saving the industry has been met. We fully except this didn’t come soon enough for many  and the casualties of the delay are clear for all to see. There is also many who feel that cash value is not high enough. We at Scotsgay arts feel its far than was to be expected and use wisely and above all else fairly. It should see the industry survive the Covid crisis.

It is however just the first step, what we need now is a detailed timeline and route map to reopening our cultural venues and Theatres. Interestingly there are already plans for London’s longest running play “The Mousetrap” to open in October in a Covid secure socially distant format but even this is only for a short period as it’s not sustainable financially. We need to know how we make theatres available without social distancing very much as has been proven in South Korea.

Lets hope that information is with us in the coming weeks and certainly with us soon enough to allow Pantomime season to take place and truly give our theatres the fighting change to survive.

Arts News!

SIX The Musical Drive In Edition

The Queens Head for the Drive In!

The smash hit pop musical “Six” is the first major production in the UK to announce its comeback in a very clever way! Both the London Productions (At the Arts Theatre, West End) and the UK tour where brought to an abrupt halt due to Covid-19 and with no date yet announced for the London show and the UK tour rescheduled into 2021 the Queens are headed for the Drive In!

sixdrivein

Producers Kenny Wax, Wendy & Andy Barnes and George Stiles have confirmed that SIX will play at 12 open-air drive-in concert venues in London and then embark on a UK tour Bristol to Edinburgh as part of Live Nation Entertainment’s Utilita Live From The Drive-In summer season.

Designed to comply with all official guidelines, Utilita Live From The Drive-In will deliver the UK’s ultimate drive-in experience, boasting concert quality sound from a live stage with a full state of the art sound system, lighting rig and high definition LED screens, creating an arena or stadium concert feel in a safe Drive-In setting adhering to the Government’s current social distancing rules to protect fans, artists, crews and staff at all times.

The tour visited Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre in February of this year and enjoyed a sell out five star run and is booked again for another run in spring 2021, you can check out our review at the link below:

https://scotsgayarts.com/2020/02/05/six-festival-theatre-edinburgh-review/

The Drive in tour commences on Tuesday 4th August in Milton Keynes at the National Bowl, before visiting Liverpool (Central Docks), Leeds (Leeds East Airport), Bolton (Bolton University Stadium), Teeside (Teeside International Airport), Lincoln (Lincolnshire Showgrounds), Cheltenham (Cheltenham Racecourse), Bristol (Filton Airfield), Edinburgh (The Royal Highland Showground), Newmarket (Newmarket Racecourse) Birmingham (Resorts World Arena) and London (Colesdale Farm)

The Drive in tour will feature both the UK and West End casts working in rotation and rehearsals are already underway! and Tickets go on sale at 8am on 3rd of July! be sure to snap them up for a unique experience!

Six The Musical – Drive In Edition, The Royal Highland Showground, Tuesday 1st – Sunday 6th September 2020. Tickets on sale from 3rd july at 8am from:

https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/utilita-live-from-the-drive-in/six-the-musical/

Preview

Interabang Productions, Scene to Seen:

Scene to See

Acclaimed Scottish theatre and film Production company Interabang are celebrating a remarkable first year in the creative industry, a year that has seen them garner 4 and 5 stars for their innovative showcase of home grown talent through there hit production of self-written shows including “Being Liza” and “Toast” both of which have enjoyed revivals of there original productions at the Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh.

To celebrate their 1st Anniversary the company will launch “Scene To Seen” – a digital series offering  new writing monologues and duologues, shot in isolation with signature high production quality and post-production editing. The Series will comprise  6 weekly videos, premiering on 2nd July 7PM LIVE on the companies Facebook @weareinterabang. Each video will be roughly 8-10 minutes long and will include captioning and one of the episodes will feature full BSL.

FiRST SCENE: PERMANENT SCAR by Rachel Flynn the  premiere video is a monologue called Permanent Scar written by Rachel Flynn, directed, and edited by Ryan Dewar and performed by River City’s Cameron Fulton. The company are exciting to showcase how scenes were filmed in nightclub cutaways during lockdown combined with Cameron’s storytelling.

The Series then continues for the following 6 weeks all Directed by Ryan Dewar and produced by Rachel Flynn. The company are aware of the plethora of free online theatre during the ongoing close down of the Theatre industry due to Covid and will be encouraging online donations via: paypal.me/weareinterabang And are determined to value the skill and hard work of our creatives by asking audiences to support artists with a financial contribution at a time which is particularly difficult for us all.

Once the series ends there are big plans in the pipeline for this innovative company including a return to the Theatre, this is a company to keep your eyes on, for now enjoy Scene to Seen!

Website: www.interabang.productions

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @weareinterabang