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Theatre glows red for Covid-19

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By Charlotte MacKay
Dumfries and West
Theatre glows red for Covid-19

SCOTLAND’S oldest working theatre was lit up red on Monday as part of a nationwide event to call attention to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the events sector.

The Theatre Royal in Shakespeare Street, Dumfries took part in Light It In Red, a project created by theatre tech company Clearsound Productions in partnership with the Backstage Theatre Jobs forum.

It called on events and convention centre, theatres, concert halls, playhouses and nightclubs to light their buildings red to draw attention to the lasting impact the coronavirus lockdown may have on these venues. Clearsound estimates that over 25,000 businesses and over half a million UK workers in the events sector have been directly affected by the restrictions placed on events.

Light It In Red fell on the same day that the UK Government announced a £1.5 billion support package for arts sector, with more than £90 million of the funding destined for Scottish venues. This is in addition to a £10 million support fund announced by the Scottish Government last week.

Anne Aldridge from the Dumfries Guild of Players, which looks after the Theatre Royal, said: “By lighting up in red hopefully it shows we are still here and people will not forget about us . We are looking forward to getting the theatre back up and running again but unfortunately there are no plans at the moment, we just have to wait for guidance. We were delighted to hear about the support package that was announced and we looked forward to the details.”

Asked if she thinks the Theatre Royal may be able to tap in to the new funding, Anne said: “I do hope so, it would be lovely to think we could but I am not sure where the amateur movement stands with that. We do have paid staff that we want to retain because they are important to us, and the service we provide to the community is not just theatre, we have so many community groups that use the building too. It is important, I think, that it continues, especially as it is Scotland’s oldest working theatre.”

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