In England many entertainment and hospitality industries will reopen tomorrow. In Scotland we will have to wait a little longer but in any case all over the UK, theatres remain closed.

They are unable to stage live performances at present. From early on in lockdown, the design community say they have been uncomfortably aware of the negative visual imagery and sadness around all of the closed buildings.

Theatres which are usually full of life look stark and bleak. Some are even shut away behind hazard tape to prevent them inadvertently being places where people gather.

Today in collaboration with theatres across the UK, #scenechange has launched #MissingLiveTheatre and has wrapped theatre buildings in a positive message of hope and visibility to the industry. This includes the Royal Lyceum in Grindlay Street where there was a lot of buzz this morning.

Photo Mihaela Bodlovic

#scenechange has wrapped the theatre with pink barrier tape reading ‘Missing Live Theatre’. They began with the National Theatre and then passed the baton to Manchester Royal Exchange, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Lyric Belfast and Sherman Theatre across the day today.

This will also be rolled out throughout the West End on Saturday, and then next week beginning 6 July further theatres nationwide will join #MissingLiveTheatre. Over 50 venues have already committed including the RSC, Sadler’s Wells, Theatr Clwyd, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Sheffield Theatres, Ambassador Theatre Group, Theatre Royal Plymouth amongst many others. 

A spokesperson for #scenechange said today: “As businesses begin to reopen, the doors of theatres remain firmly shut, whilst we navigate a way back to live performance. Today as we launch #MissingLiveTheatre, we want to bring joy and colour to theatres across the UK and Ireland, whilst highlighting the ongoing impact of Covid-19, and what we as an industry and local communities are missing.”

#scenechange began as a small email exchange ‘Dialogue in Strange Times’ between a group of set & costume designers. Now it is a wide community of designers covering the breadth of the discipline and growing to over 1000 members, promoting ways of coming together in conversation and action in support of theatre.

For theatres who wish to join in the #missinglivetheatre campaign, please contact: Working with production manager Anna Fox, #scenechange will provide risk assessment and technical support, as well as linking theatres up with local designers for on site installation. The tape will remain in place for up to one week before being removed and reused by #scenechange to envelop another theatre. 

Photos Mihaela Bodlovic