Reflections on the big news of the week… back to listing

Still taking in the implications of the £1.57 billion for the cultural sector, suddenly the beginnings of a timetable for the ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ were released last night, with the news that outdoor performances could take place from tomorrow. I love a tight deadline, but…

So, with little time to plan, we are suddenly faced with a prospect and an expectation that we can perform outdoors. Despite welcoming the notion of returning to outdoor performance, two days’ notice is a little challenging.

To look at the detail (as best as we can) the main focus seems to be on ‘outdoor venues’ reopening with appropriate social distancing. Thus, the Minack Theatre in Cornwall and outdoor opera at Glyndebourne were cited as examples of potential reopening.

Those of us who work in the outdoors know that a ‘venue’ can mean anything, but in these circumstances, we must look carefully; we are still in the midst of a pandemic and holding a large public gathering is still against government guidance. In many circumstances, permission to stage a performance, public event or festival will still need to be sought from local authorities. We still need to be responsible and follow guidance – we need to keep ourselves and our colleagues safe and to ensure that audiences are not put at risk by our activities.

So, to help the Outdoor Arts sector towards the best possible practice, we are making sure that you have access to all the relevant guidance – including our own – and we are always available to try and point people in the right direction. Keep working on Risk Assessments for the evolving situation.

Next week OAUK will announce a series of events on the latest thinking for the outdoor performance for various interested parties.

  • Outdoor Art Sector Session: we will gather the latest information and advice for our members and the wider Outdoor Arts sector to look at what we can and can’t do, potential possibilities and the latest practicalities.
  • Venues Session: we will host an event for venues who are interested in knowing more about how to work outdoors, some of the physical practicalities of doing so, what works creatively in an open-air environment and some thoughts on repurposing existing resources, equipment and skills for an outdoor environment.
  • Organisations Session: we will also host an event for other non-venue organisations, such as Local Authorities (LAs), Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), commercial organisations and Creative People & Places Projects (CPPs) to guide them towards outdoor performance.
  • Outdoor Arts Consultant Directory: at the heart of all of this will be sharing the skills and experience of those in the sector, so we will finalise our directory that many of the sector wanted to be included in. We will also have a small fund available to enable us to subsidise consultation for organisations that are unable to meet this cost, as we know that everyone is in a challenging position.

More to follow on all this…

Angus Mackechnie

Executive Director, OutdoorArtsUK