politics

Andrew Lloyd Webber joins legal bid to force release of Covid pilot data


Andrew Lloyd Webber has joined a group taking legal action to force the Government to release data from the Covid-19 Events Research Programme.

The programme ran pilot events at sporting, music and other venues to test the impact of testing, social distancing and ventilation measures on the industry.

But it has yet to publicly release any data from the project – or share it with the venues and industries involved.

Lord Lloyd Webber’s intervention comes after a row over his forthcoming West End production of Cinderella.

He said: “Last week I rejected the Government’s invitation for Cinderella to be singled out as a last-minute part of the Events Research Programme.

“Today, with a range of voices from across the theatre and live entertainment industries, we are forced to take it further. We simply must now see the data that is being used to strangle our industry so unfairly.

“The Government’s actions are forcing theatre and music companies off a cliff as the summer wears on, whilst cherry-picking high-profile sporting events to go ahead. The situation is beyond urgent.”



The Theatre legend says the data is being used to "strangle" the industry
The Theatre legend says the data is being used to “strangle” the industry

In a statement, the group, which also includes musician Peter Gabriel and theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, accused the Government of “making it impossible to plan for any live entertainment business” by not sharing their findings.

Sir Cameron said: “Having been forced to close our theatres twice last year, the second time after the Government encouraged reopening for Christmas, losing further millions as a result, a joint insurance scheme to protect us against another enforced closure is vital.”

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He added: “Along with most of the commercial theatre we have had absolutely no direct financial help either for our productions or the upkeep of our historic theatres.

“Opening without any sort of protection is impossible for many producers, live event organisers and theatre buildings across the country.

“Having contributed huge amounts of money to the exchequer over the last few decades, the theatre desperately needs to be supported in its hour of need or the government will be responsible for the disintegration of one of this country’s most priceless and irreplaceable assets after centuries of being the envy of the world.”





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