A protest March For The Arts will take place in Liverpool city centre this weekend to raise awareness of the devastating impact lockdown has had on the Arts Industry across the region.
The March on Saturday 3 October from 12noon will bring people together who work in and support the industry which currently lies in ruins due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with restrictions continuing further. The Governments support has been welcome but is not enough. The protest was originally postponed when the 1.57bn was announced, three months later, the rescue package hasn’t been delivered, furlough is ending, SEISS is ending, organisations remain closed and Rishi Sunak recently described the industry as ‘unviable’.
The peaceful March will begin at the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral and move through the city centre to a rally with speakers at St George’s Hall Plateau, the speakers will represent a diverse section of the industry including the Artistic Director of Everyman Playhouse Gemma Bodinetz, Adam Flanders of BECTU and actor Tayo Aluko to name a few.
This weekend was chosen to build on a weeklong of protests up and down the country, from the Creative Performance Protest to We Make Events to The Panto Parade. Monday 5th October is the deadline for the Arts Council to have informed/distributed the arts rescue package for round one applicants and this Saturday is also the start of the Conservative Party Conference
March For The Arts has been organised collectively by three people working in the industry, Liz Barker, Becky Webb and Gemma Dunne, who are dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of the arts and championing those who work in arts industries.
The organisers said “We believe the time is now to march and rally, without further financial support our industry cannot afford to operate with social distancing in place. Until social distancing is no longer required, we must have financial support that reflects our economic value of £111.7bn annually outside of this crisis. We can’t raise awareness to the changes we want to see, if we can’t be seen.
“We also understand there are concerns with the rising number of Covid cases in Liverpool. Protests are still allowed in current legislation and whilst people are able to eat out, drink out, play sports in groups both at professional level and at amateur then we can protest at the Government’s lack of support for an industry that is unable to open, affecting hundreds and thousands of workers up and down the country, as well as the health and wellbeing of us as a society.
“Social distancing is important to us – we want to ensure everyone attending is 1m+ from the next bubble, is wearing a facemask unless medically exempt, and have plenty of hand sanitizer! We are keeping a track on numbers through the facebook event or by people emailing us confirmation of attendance, to ensure it remains a safe March.”
People are encouraged to attend in their work clothes or costume, to create banners or placards and are welcome to bring their musical instruments or other theatrical props such as puppets and to display their art.
The protest encourages all genres across the creative industries to come together, such as theatre, music, comedy, events, dance, or community engagement. If people are unable to attend or are cautious about attending, then they can also support the protest via social media on the day.