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Music / April 26, 2021

National Campaign for the Arts asks government for clarity on reopening

Photo Credit: Yannis Papanastasopoulos
Music / April 26, 2021

National Campaign for the Arts asks government for clarity on reopening

Words: Dylan Murphy

Ahead of more news from the government the NCFA is seeking assurances for the arts and live entertainment industry in Ireland.

In a statement released today, The National Campaign for the Arts has asked Minister Martin to provide a roadmap to reopening for the live entertainment sector and clarity over PUP and EWSS payments.

It comes after the NCFA welcomed Minister Catherine Martin and the Department of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media’s contribution to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on April 20 2021, and the proposed trial of Basic Income for artists and arts workers.

Ahead of more government announcements this wee kabout the further reopening of society, the NCFA has written to the Minister seeking assurances that due consideration is being given to the entire arts, culture and live entertainment sectors within these plans.

They have sought clarity about whether PUP and EWSS payments for the arts, culture and live entertainment sectors will be maintained until the industry can open at full capacity again. Additionally, they’ve noted the importance of a clear and actionable plan with timelines so that those in the arts and live entertainment industry can prepare adequately.

The NCFA also noted, “It is crucial that the plans and guidelines that are in development for the recommencement of live arts, culture and entertainment experiences take a holistic consideration of the entire artistic process. Creating quality artistic, cultural and live entertainment experiences takes time – time in planning, co-ordinating, casting, rehearsing, creating, developing, programming, marketing, promoting and presenting. It is imperative that plans are not wholly focussed on the ‘end product’ – the delivery of the final presentation of work to audiences – but also take into consideration the multi layered and time- consuming process which happens before final work can be presented.”

Currently, there is no guidance as to when studios, rehearsal rooms and other essential facilities for workers in the arts can reopen.

The NCFA have asked that the Minister ensures that the following be addressed in the next set of reopening announcements:

  • A clear and actionable roadmap for arts, culture and live entertainment sectors be provided.
  • A clear indication that both PUP and EWSS arrangements for the arts, culture and live entertainment sectors, will be maintained at current levels until our sectors can once again open at full capacity.
  • A timeline, even an indicative one, that outlines the path from the current closed situation through to a fully reopened sector.
  • That the timeline for reopening must encompass the need for time and resources to be made available to artists, arts workers, and arts organisations to create and deliver experiences for live audiences. 
  • That the Department’s plans will ensure that the arts, culture and live entertainment sectors will be back working at full capacity in a reasonable timeframe that is equitable in relation to other sectors.
  • A timeline for the reopening of artists, arts workers and arts organisation’s places of work.
  • A timeline and definitive details regarding the resumption of live outdoor events with audiences.
  • A timeline and definitive details regarding the resumption of live indoor events with audiences.

In a closing statement, the NCFA said, “The NCFA fully accepts and understands that the virus is still a threat to public health and that ever-evolving updates to public health advice, the roll out of the vaccination programme, the global situation and other factors will determine exact timings for the recommencement of experiences with physical audiences, it is crucial that our communities are being considered as a whole and that an indicative timeline is provided so that initial planning can commence. It is the smaller, less resourced, independent organisations and artists that will lose out the most if sufficient planning time is not allowed for.”

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