David Tennant’s Plea For The Theatre Industry In 2021

David Tennant tells The Big Issue what he wants to see happen regarding theatre and the arts in 2021...

What would you like to see happen in 2021?

Film and TV production is beginning to tiptoe back to life, which is great. Let’s hope that continues. Because otherwise we’re going to run out of new telly, apart from anything else – and we all need things to watch in this world that we’re currently in. 

But theatres a bit of a problem. Theatres need to be rooms full of people. They don’t really work with social distancing. 

Theatres exist on quite slim profit margin, so while they can have 30 per cent capacity, they need 60, 70, 80, 100 per cent capacity. And that doesn’t work if you have to be two metres away from everyone. So, I’m worried for the theatre. 

The government has made some strides to provide funding and we thank them for that, but we ask them to keep an eye on it because that money will be eaten up very fast. And of course, there’s one thing about preserving the buildings and the structures and the companies – there’s also a lot of people who work in theatre who are freelance so if they’re not working they don’t have any money coming in. And that has economic knock-on effects. 

Our industry is in a better place than it was but in terms of the theatres, there’s a lot to unpick there and they’re going to need more help so they can reopen fully and enthusiastically and be the economic engine that actually they are. 

Every pound that’s invested in the arts brings back five. But of course right now, every pound that’s invested is bringing back nothing. So right now is when we need that extra investment. To get that five pounds for every one pound that we’re going to need to rebuild our economy, we might just need to splurge a bit more money now. 

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