We hosted our 4th Town Hall meeting on 29th October, via Zoom. Thanks to all who attended. Despite the glum looking faces on the screenshot, it was quite a positive meeting, although of course things have changed dramatically since the meeting.
At the Town Hall members reported on the situation in the different nations:
- In Wales
- It is illegal to do anything in theatres and concert halls
- 30 people can assemble, distanced, outside
- The Sherman, Cardiff is working as an extension of the Royal Welsh College who are using 2 rehearsal rooms, 2 theatre spaces and wardrobe.
- In Scotland
- Filming and digital work is going on in some spaces
- Theatre is only allowed in tier 1 areas (Glasgow is at tier 3)
- National Theatre Scotland of Scotland has shows for digital presentation in rehearsal, with possible shows planned for March/April, but with a digital element in case of restrictions. https://www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/
- Civic Digits are doing this show on line https://civicdigits.com/2020/08/26/the-big-data-show-goes-online/
- Generally, the situation is not good
- In England
- The New Vic Theatre, Stoke, has reopened after its refit. They have 2 shows playing in rep. One is a daytime lighting and sound installation, the other is a regular visiting show, playing to an audience of 187, down from the usual 600 They are filming a ‘Talking Heads’ which tech’s next week. No actors in the building. A Christmas show is planned (inside/outside promenade – how do you do an audio description of this sort of show?) with a cast of 4. They will not speak to or touch each other. It is being filmed as a backup. https://www.newvictheatre.org.uk/
- Central (RCSSD) are doing a musical theatre show which will be filmed for agents and families. More agents are likely to see this than would come to live performances. It is proving very costly. https://www.cssd.ac.uk/events
- The Albany opened in September, with an auditorium reduced to 40 from 256. They are doing a Christmas show for schools and families, which is selling quite well. Possibility for a school to book the whole auditorium of 256 and streaming the show for the rest of the school. Some schools just want it streamed. This is being discussed. https://www.thealbany.org.uk/shows-and-events/
- There are no tours, so everyone has to make their own shows
- The Royal Exchange Manchester is working with Hope Mill Theatre. https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/whats-on
- RNCM are doing some digital work
- Home, Manchester are doing a show with a live audience for 3 performances and 2 live streamed performances.
- Scottish Opera are taking ‘Flight’ to the Bridge Theatre London. The audience are in their own booths, with headsets. There are no live actors. https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/flight/
- Theatre Alibi, based in Exeter have a show on the road to 40 primary schools. The actors work on a rota system. https://www.theatrealibi.co.uk/
- Unfortunately there was no one at the meeting from Northern Ireland
We discussed producing and using RAMS (Risk Assessment Method Statements) as opposed to straight Risk Assessments. The PMF would like to publish as many of these as possible in our Resources hub. Please send any you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org
We also discussed issues to do with streaming and the challenges and additional work this creates for production departments. The platform is the major thing to get right.
Diversity and access are particular issues. A couple of companies were suggested www.allmediaworks.co.uk and http://www.digital-4.co.uk/ who have some voice activated captioning software and hand held tablets
AAPTLE (The Alliance of Associations & Professionals in Theatre & Live Events) https://aaptle.uk/
- continues to work well.
- The minutes of their meetings are available here https://www.productionmanagersforum.org/discussion-board/category/aaptle-meeting-minutes/
- and the Returning to Work Statement here. https://www.productionmanagersforum.org/news/returning-to-work-statement/
- The plans for the AAPTLE Education Sub Committee were discussed and this led to feedback on traineeships, apprentices, and other schemes – using theatres as educational establishments.
- The PMF Education Sector has 18 members
SiPA 10 Commandments/Commitments
- Thanks to Louise Gregory, who has turned the original into a more user-friendly version. David Evans and Jennifer Taillefer are working on the next draft.
- Sustainability should also be of people
- Designers seem to be more up for sustainability. Scene Change https://www.scene-change.com/ have done good work during lockdown.
- NT Wales only buy things if they will have a future use.
- ALBERT are the equivalent in film and TV https://wearealbert.org/
- Environmental Business Plans have to be submitted to the Arts Council by January.
We also discussed:
- The Culture Recovery Fund
- Refurbishment money being ring fenced from COVID
- Rehearsal guidelines are with the ABTT for editing
- Loss of productivity in rehearsals and production periods because of COVID measures
- Designers’ CDM responsibilities
- Public Liability Insurance
- Production Managers as board members/trustees (we will be putting these vacancies on our Job Vacancies page)
Next Town Hall
The November Town Hall will be at 4pm UK time on Thursday 26th November, followed by socially distanced drinks. The Zoom link will be sent to members in due course.