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Theatre APPG

Dear Giles Watling MP

A note from The Theatre All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Chair, Giles Watling, MP for Clacton

It is great to be writing in the first APPG for Theatre newsletter, and thanks to our secretariat for setting this up.
“This is a good time to look back and consider everything we have achieved this year. Even with the disruption caused by the election and the pandemic, we have managed to put on three well attended events and have lobbied the Government relentlessly on support for the arts, which culminated in the £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund. I think we can look back on this first year with a lot of pride.
“Of course, more is needed, and more is planned. I look forward to working with all of you in the future. And if you have any suggestions for areas the APPG could focus on, please do let me know.

Work of the Theatre APPG - Update

The Theatre APPG was established in July 2019. UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT) serves as the Group's Secretariat. 

Since the formal launch of the Theatre APPG just over a year ago (October 16, 2019), the APPG has established itself as a busy and active cross-party group. 

Highlights include:

  • Theatre APPG launch event
  • Three 'evidence' sessions (How Theatre Works in 2020; COVID-19 and beyond; Brexit & the Comprehensive Spending Review)
  • An AGM
  • Two EGMs (electing four new officers).

Despite being unable to meet in person, the APPG has continued to make its voice heard through virtual meetings, on social and in letters. For example: 
  • letter from 154 Parliamentarians to the Prime Minister
  • letter from 156 Parliamentarians to The Chancellor
  • A letter to the Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Operational updates
  • We have now created a Twitter handle for the Theatre APPG. 
  • We have created a sign-up and newsletter system 
  • The webpage is now up-to-date with films from some of the sessions, meeting notes, agendas and minutes. 
  • We will continue to host meetings via Zoom for the foreseeable future. Although we are fully aware this isn't ideal, it has meant we can easily record speakers and also caption their presentations. 
  • We have a stakeholder engagement group that is made up of theatre organisations / practitioners from across the UK. They met again in November to look at 2021 in terms of membership, subjects and APPG Officer representation. 
  • The Theatre APPG Officers meet 8 December to discuss 2021; Officer membership and representation across the UK.

Our AGM will be held on 15.00-16.00, Tuesday 14 January 2021.  

Next session - 15 December 2020

We have preliminarily planned one more session before the end of 2020. This will be on the impact of COVID-19 on theatre businesses in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England. It is due to focus on test events / opening safely; insurance; and touring across the UK. 

2021 session subjects

If you have any suggestions for what the Theatre APPG should cover in 2021, please email our secretariat on the below email. 


If you have any suggestions for what else you'd like to see in this newsletter going forwards, again please email our secretariat

Please also share the newsletter sign-up link with any colleagues who might find it useful to keep updated. 

With thanks and best wishes,

Giles Watling MP, Chair of The Theatre APPG


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