The Panto Parade was organized by the creative industries union Bectu and the ExcludedUK campaign group, and is part of a day of action organized with the #WeMakeEvents campaign, which calls on the government to offer a ‘lifeline’ to the entertainment industry.
Matthew Baldwin, who plays Mother Goose in the LGBTQ panto Above the Stag in Vauxhall, south London, said: “The young people in our industry have nothing. We need the proper support and clarity for government. The industry is on its knees. ”
The annual pantomime season is vital for theaters as it makes theaters sustainable throughout the year. Liverpool Everyman’s Panto Rock’n’Roll, for example, generates more than a quarter of its annual box office revenue.
Protesters also called for extending the leave scheme and self-employment income support scheme until 2021, as well as government assurance that those who are not covered – including many freelance artists – have received A support.
Helen, stage manager at Magic Goes Wrong in London’s West End, said she had started working at a supermarket since the lockdown restrictions went into effect in March.
Holding a sign saying “22 years as a manager. It’s not just viable work – it’s my life, ”she said, many people working in the theater business felt the government was treating their livelihoods as if they were. “hobbies” rather than careers.
Bectu chief Philippa Childs said the government had failed to provide “the significant support or certainty needed” and called for recognition of the economic contribution of the theater industry.
She said: “We have lost the panto magic for this year and we hope our appeals and this collective action will get the theater back well before the panto season in 2021.”
In July, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden warned the Christmas season could be canceled, saying he didn’t want to set people’s expectations too high. “The challenge is that we have a lot of people close to each other, we have different generations – from grandma to baby,” he says.
Last week, West End producer Sonia Friedman criticized the Chancellor’s winter economy plan, calling it insulting and extending the government’s stance of refusing to see “what [theatres] worth “.
Some Christmas events are taking place, including the annual festive celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall, which were confirmed on Tuesday with socially distant performances taking place in December.