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Government angers non-professional performing arts groups in England with updated Covid-19 guidance

Performers' frustration stems from the delayed publication and inconsistency between the restrictive guidelines for amateur groups and the much more relaxed regulations for gyms and education settings

The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) updated its regulations for performing arts on 18 May 2021, with indoor performances by singers limited to a single group of no more than six people. Outdoor activities may involve up to 30 participants.

Described by one commentator as ‘a total insult to this important cultural sector’, the government’s new Covid-19 guidelines have appeared in a week when the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, described music and arts degrees as ‘dead-end courses’.

From the latest guidelines

Taking part in non-professional performing arts activity

  • Non-professional activities are permitted indoors and outdoors, within the legal gathering limits
  • Outdoors, people can take part in non-professional performing arts activities in a group of up to 30 people. Activities can take place with multiple permitted groups, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, and the event is organised in line with the organised events guidance for local authorities
  • Indoors, people can take part in non-professional performing arts activities in a group of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households/bubbles. Activities can take place with multiple permitted groups, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, and the event is organised [in line with] events guidance for local authorities
  • However, non-professional singing indoors should only take place in a single group of up to 6 people [CHORALLY’s emphasis]
  • Activities should be organised to allow for social distancing to be maintained

‘Before undertaking non-professional performing arts activity, you should consider the case for proceeding (or not) based especially on the risk involved in the activity and location, and the number and health of participants, particularly if vulnerable individuals are involved.’

CHORALLY Editor
Author: CHORALLY Editor