Millennium Forum Red Alert

Derry’ Millennium Forum. Picture by Martina McLaughlin

Derry’s Millennium Forum will be lit in red for the next few weeks to highlight the dangers the theatre industry as a whole is currently facing as a result of the ongoing Covid – 19 pandemic and the resultant social distancing implications.

The Millennium Forum, which is unable to operate in the current climate, wants to send a clear message to highlight the difficulties that all theatres in the region and further afield are trying to overcome as an industry and views the lighting in red of its city centre venue as a signal of help for the arts and entertainments industry as a whole.

Chief Executive, David McLaughlin explained:

“The theatre industry is among the hardest hit of all sectors due to the pandemic and we wanted our building to act as a beacon to highlight our plight at this most difficult and challenging time.  At the Millennium Forum, we currently have ninety staff on furlough with no clear guidelines from government as to when we can lift social distancing rules and allow us to be operational again.  Our business is not sustainable in the current operating climate.  Simply put, it is not viable either economically or artistically at present.”

The city centre venue, which welcomes in excess of 320,000 visitors per year and has a knock-on effect of over £11 million to the yearly economy of Derry-Londonderry, has a firmly established reputation of bringing quality theatre to the city and draws in local, national and international customers making it a key player in the night time economy.

Its Chief Executive further added:

“We are asking government to consider our plight as a matter of urgency and to carefully look at our sector issuing clear guidelines.  For example, social distancing is impossible backstage and onstage while in the main auditorium, it cuts our potential audience by approximately 75% meaning that only 240 people would currently be permitted to use our auditorium which is not economically viable from an operational perspective.  These are dark days for theatre and our message is simple: help us and give us a clear timeframe for fully re-opening.”

The Millennium Forum is currently selling shows for 2021 online at www.millenniumforum.co.uk

Please buy a ticket and help to support our theatre.     

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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.