Following the announcement today, here is a response from Ken Wright, Managing Director, Phoenix Arts Club:
The government decision to postpone opening of live performance venues with 24 hours notice has pulled the carpet from under us. We’ve said all along that we would ‘open once and open well’ therefore with heavy heart and broken bank balance we must announce that we will remain closed until we are certain that indoor live performance is permitted. We’ve been incredibly busy during the last month planning for reopening – deep cleaning, staffing, show preparation, booking artists, buying in stock and have spent considerable sums on risk assessments, marketing and advertising our opening to guarantee box office sales.
Our shows from the 1st August are sold out (at 30% capacity). A “ticketed” industry requires at least a four week lead time and it is unacceptable to order us closed the day before re-opening. Unlike “walk in businesses” such as a bowling alley or casino, the Government needs to realise the full context of closing down a “ticketed” live performance business with such short notice. Whilst we of course accept that measures should be taken to reduce new coronavirus cases, we urge the government to take into consideration the vast amount of work that goes into preparing a live show and we request that the next set of dates are not committed to unless there is confidence that these will be definite.
Today’s decision has left us uneasy about preparing for a reopening until the Government can guarantee – rather than ‘consider’ a firm opening date. We have a legal obligation to refund people, but hope that our customers will be satisfied with transferring their ticket to a future (as yet unconfirmed) performance. In the meantime donations to our CrowdFunder campaign whilst still welcome have now become essential.”
The Crowdfunder campaign is being launched specifically with a focus on the venue’s community work and the plan is to help cement the future of the venue so that it can support emerging and established artists for years to come.
With this funding, The Phoenix Arts Club can remain a vital springboard for up-and-coming musical theatre, comedy, cabaret, authors, and musicians alike. It will allow the venue to continue providing heavily discounted rental and marketing support for shows and rehearsals and expand its community outreach programme with the introduction of workshops, talks, showcases, and networking events.
In return of donations, the Phoenix Arts Club will offer a number of rewards and experiences ranging from show jackets and jigsaw puzzles to a limited edition print by illustrator Mark Reeve, masterclasses and even an opportunity to record your own Musical Theatre Album with West End legend Greg Arrowsmith.
The Limited Edition print features famous faces who have frequented the venue over the years.
Limited edition print L-R: Trevor Dion Nicholas, An Arctic Monkey, Danny DeVito, Laurence Olivier, Lady Gaga, David Dimbleby, Gurinder Chadha, Stan Lee, Star Wars DB8, Tim Minchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Sir Ian McKellen, Beverley Knight, Kiefer Sunderland, James Cordon, Karen Gillan, Martina Cole, Ed Sheeran, Mo Gilligan, Wayne Sleep, Kit Harington.