While the arts, culture and heritage sectors await further details and a timetable for the Government investment announced last week, #scenechange continue to wrap theatres across the UK and Ireland in a message of hope. From early on in lockdown, the design community have been uncomfortably aware of the negative visual imagery and sadness around closed buildings. Theatres which are usually teeming with life feel stark and bleak, some even shut away behind hazard tape to prevent them inadvertently being places of gathering.

With the National Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Lyric Belfast and The Old Vic already wrapped, #scenechange have taken their message of joy and wrapped bows around West End venues throughout the weekend. This week will see further theatres nationwide joining #MissingLiveTheatre, with over 60 venues already committed including the RSC, Sadler’s Wells, Theatr Clwyd, Sheffield Theatres, Kiln Theatre, amongst many others.

On Tuesday 14 July, three Newcastle theatres will be wrapped by a team of designers led by award-winning scenographer and visual artist, Imogen Cloet - Live Theatre, Northern Stage and Theatre Royal Newcastle. Alphabetti Theatre will also be taking part later in the week. The North East design-ers are Alison Ashton, Anna Robinson and Aileen Kelly.

Kate Denby, Executive Director at Northern Stage said, "Really delighted Imogen and a team of free-lance theatre designers will be decorating our building, bringing life to our theatre while it's closed and connecting us with venues up and down the country. We can't wait to see what they come up with.”

Theatre Royal Newcastle Chief Executive, Philip Bernays said, “Wonderful to be part of this national project bringing visibility in such a contemporary fashion to the crisis in theatres and the arts."

#scenechange said, “Whilst we navigate a way back to live performance, we continue #Missing-LiveTheatre to bring joy and colour to theatres across the UK and Ireland, to celebrate these incredible buildings, and the key role they play within their communities. We welcome the Government investment announced last week, and see this as a key moment for the industry, a time to renew and reset, build a stronger future for all, and safeguard the sector for future generations. However, at this time theatres remain closed, and as freelancers we stand together with those dependent on the furlough scheme and financial aid packages – all of us unable to work in our chosen careers and all of us #MissingLiveTheatre.”

#scenechange began as a small email exchange ‘Dialogue in Strange Times’ between a group of set & costume designers. Now it is a wide community of designers covering the breadth of the discipline and growing to over 1000 members, promoting ways of coming together in conversation and action in support of theatre.

For theatres who wish to join in the #missinglivetheatre campaign, please contact: [email protected] Working with production manager Anna Fox, #scenechange will provide risk assess-ment and technical support, as well as linking theatres up with local designers for on-site installa-tion. The tape will remain in place for up to one week before being removed and reused by

#scenechange to envelop another theatre. The tape is recyclable, and the ambition once the project is completed is to create a permanent installation.


Twitter: @_scene_change_

Instagram: _scene_change_



Main image: l-r Jake Ashton-Nelson, Alison Ashton, Anna Robinson & Imogen Cloet.

Photo credit: Kit Haig.