This article was first published in PLASA Media’s magazine LSi on 7 July 2020. We are pleased to share it here to promote the #LightItInRed campaign:
Last night (6 July), some of the UK’s most iconic venues and landmarks were lit up in ‘emergency red’ as part of the #LightItInRed campaign to draw attention to the critical condition of the live events and entertainment industry. A glimpse of hope was given to Britain’s arts industry on Sunday evening (5 July), as £1.57bn was pledged by the government – yet the supply chain behind the production of live events and festivals, including many freelancers, is still awaiting clarification as to what support they will be offered.
Unlike other industries, live theatre, outdoor events, concerts, festivals and performances have been unable to safely resume due to social distancing guidance and other restrictions. Many predict these events may not resume until 2021. The #LightItInRed campaign aims to draw attention to the often hidden workforce behind such events, many of whom are not eligible for any of the government COVID-19 financial schemes – putting further strain on the sector.
Inspired by Germany’s #NightOfLight protest which took place in June, the #LightItInRed campaign saw hundreds of buildings and landmarks across the UK illuminated, from Cornwall’s Minack Theatre, Glastonbury’s bare Pyramid stage, Brighton’s famous pier and the Biomes of the Eden Project, to London venues including The Royal Albert Hall and the National Theatre, and further north to the Blackpool Tower, Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre, Theatre Royal Dumfries and countless other sites.
Industry companies taking part by illuminating their premises included: Robe UK, White Light, Neg Earth, PRG UK, Production Park, AC-ET, Ambersphere Solutions, Martin Audio, Lamp & Pencil, Zero 88 and many, many more.
The industry’s leading trade body, PLASA, is actively supporting the campaign to raise awareness for the production staff not being accounted for – 72% of whom are self-employed freelancers needing a voice. The association’s HQ in Eastbourne, also home to LSi, lit up red for the occasion, with generous support from Identity and TSL Lighting.
Peter Heath, MD of PLASA, comments: “While the rescue package indicates some progression in addressing the UK’s cultural catastrophe, there is still a vast amount of more tailored support needed. There are hundreds of hidden people involved in live productions, outside of theatres, who are not being taken into consideration and do not know when they will be returning to work. The #LightItInRed campaign is a warning to the government, that we can expect the production ecosystem to collapse before spring next year unless we see an extension of the self-employed scheme, at the very least.”