Theatres need bailout to survive, warns writer James Graham

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Playwright James Graham has said an “aggressive government bailout” is needed to save theatres from the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

UK venues have been shut for four weeks, with all West End performances cancelled until at least 31 May.

In several months’ time, “all of the reserves will have dried up and there will be no money left”, Graham warned.

“I don’t even know if there will be a theatre or film industry that we can recognise when this is all over.”

Graham, one of the country’s leading dramatists, has turned his hit West End play Quiz, about the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? coughing scandal, into an ITV mini-series.

‘No middle ground’
While some theatres have started streaming online, he told the PA news agency it was “a collective artform”.

He explained: “You need people around you to see it and do it and there is no middle ground now.

“If it’s going to survive in any form it will need an aggressive government bailout and you either do or you don’t do it. There is either theatre or there isn’t any more.

“So there is kind of a clarity to what we need to ask government to do for it to survive and hopefully they will do it.”

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