The director Sam Mendes has outlined a rescue package for theatre during the coronavirus crisis and warned that if the performing arts are not protected, “an ecosystem this intricate and evolved cannot be rebuilt from scratch”. Mendes’ suggested measures, outlined in a long article for the Financial Times, have been applauded by key figures in the industry, with the choreographer Matthew Bourne hailing the plan as a “great call to arms”. Mendes calls the Covid-19 pandemic “the biggest challenge to Britain’s cultural life since the outbreak of the second world war” and stresses that the arts are “a giant economic growth engine”, with theatre launching the careers of thousands who go on to work in the film and TV industries. Mendes started out as a theatre director and launched his film career with the Oscar-winning American Beauty after he had spent several years at the Donmar Warehouse in London. While the careers of those in theatre have suffered in recent months, there are many, he writes, “whom Covid-19 has made rich”. He continues: “It would be deeply ironic if the streaming services – Netflix, Amazon Prime et al – should be making lockdown millions from our finest acting, producing, writing and directing… Read full this story
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