Tate, Royal Court, FACT and Philharmonic close as the arts take huge hit from coronavirus

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TATE Liverpool

As coronavirus continues to put a halt to events and venue operations across the country, Getintothis’ Kris Roberts has the latest on some of Liverpool’s most treasured arts venues’ closures. 

As coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on our plans, our health and wellbeing, and our jobs, arts venues across the city announce they must close to aid in the efforts to contain the virus. 

The Tate collective of museums and galleries announced that as of March 18, all four of their galleries will be closing until May 1 at the earliest. 

This includes Liverpool’s Tate, and the decision has been made following advice from Public Health England in an effort that many venues are taking to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

Tate have set up a coronavirus FAQ’s section on their website, where they said: “The safety of our staff, visitors and community is our top priority. Due to coronavirus, Tate galleries will close on 18 March 2020 until 1 May in line with advice from government, NHS and Public Health England. We look forward to welcoming you back to Tate when we reopen.”

Anybody with tickets to any of their events or exhibitions will be contacted over the next few days with the option to donate ticket money, rebook for another time, or request a full refund. 

Tate Liverpool isn’t the only arts venue to announce a temporary closure. 

Liverpool’s Royal Court released a statement earlier today announcing that they will be rescheduling all of their performances due to take place between now and June 5.

Some of the shows affected include Pete Price is Dead which will now take place in October, YNWA moving to June, and Macca & Beth being moved to February 2012.

This decision comes following the governments daily press conferences in a bid to keep the publics, the staffs, and the perfomers health and safety as number one priority.

Kevin Fearon, Executive Producer at Liverpool’s Royal Court said: “This is a very challenging time for the country in general and theatres in particular. The audience here have been amazing and have already shown a lot of support to us online. We will make sure that every single person who has booked with us has a replacement ticket and we want to see them all back here once life has got back to normal. 

“I know that this is a difficult time for everybody but I can’t help but feel that we have been let down by the leadership of the country. Businesses like ours are only as good as the frontline staff and the way in which the Prime Minister handled this latest announcement has meant that thousands of hard working people in the hospitality industry will be struggling to pay their bills. We will do our best for our staff but I would call on the government to support those who have been affected by these latest closures.” 

Fearon‘s feelings have been echoed by many across the industry, including Chairman of the Music Venue Trust who penned this open letter to the Prime Minister following his ‘stay away from venues but we won’t make them close’ stance during his conference on Monday.

Box office will be getting in touch with all ticket holders over the coming days and weeks to organise rebooking tickets for their chosen events, or, if they choose, they can instead receive a voucher that can be used at the venue anytime over the next 2 years.

Grand National 2020 called off due to coronavirus

Liverpool FACT also announced that they will be closing their doors for the foreseeable future due to health and safety concerns. 

This includes the galleries, the cinema, the cafe and the bar, effective immediately. 

In a statement, the venue said: “Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our community, and this is why FACT has taken the decision to close until further notice. During this time we will be honouring all pre-agreed contracts (written and informal) which supports our artists, freelancers, casuals, our incredible cleaning and security teams, and staff.”

Recognising the need for entertaining, uplifting content during trying times as people begin to self-isolate and distance themselves socially, FACT announced that they will be presenting a programme of engaging, social and interactive content for everyone to enjoy remotely. 

Their next exhibition, And Say The Animals Responded? will be postponed. It is unclear at the moment as to when this will happen, though FACT are taking the necessary actions and will announce information as they gain it. 

The Liverpool Philharmonic has also announced that they will be temporarily closing their doors. 

They will be cancelling and rescheduling all performances that are set to take place at both the Philharmonic and their subsidiary, Music Room. 

The closures will take place with immediate effect and will last until April 19 at the earliest, though this could change given the current situation. 

They are aiming to reschedule all events that are due to take place between now and then, and will provide all information on dates to the public as soon as it is available. 

In a statement currently available on their website, the venue has said: “We enter a period of unprecedented uncertainty. The health of everyone working for, or visiting Liverpool Philharmonic will always be our priority. Over the next few weeks and months, we will do everything we can to support our artists, staff and community.”

They also outlined a very real issue that arts venues across the country are facing in a time of such uncertainty: “As a charity, the Liverpool Philharmonic relies on tickets sales for a large part of our income. Our sector faces uncertain times ahead. Therefore, we ask our audiences, if you are able to – please consider donating the price of your ticket, or another amount.”

As is also the case with both FACT and the Tate, these venues rely heavily on donations in order to operate. Operating as charities, with many of their workers being volunteers, this could make getting back on their feet after this situation settles even more difficult. 

Liverpool Acoustic have been forced to postpone shows featuring Merry Hell (Friday April 10) and The Spinners Legends (May 20 and 30), while holding out hope that Elfin Bow, Little Sparrow and Dariah Kulesh will still perform on June 20 as planned.

Venues, artists, promoters, managers, stage personnel, security workers and everyone else who works tirelessly to put on these events will potentially suffer massively due to these closures, and so these decisions have not been made lightly.

As the arts and music industries enter a dark time, it is important to uplift and support wherever possible, and pull together to make sure everyone can get back on their feet when this is all over. 

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