Venues glow red as Edinburgh's entertainment landscape fights for survival - Liam Rudden
THE landscape of live entertainment is changing, whether it be theatre, music or comedy, and right now it is those who can adapt to remain creative that will survive.
Chatting to Fish, one time frontman of Marillion, the other week I was struck by his admission that his two hour weekly Facebook Live broadcast Fish on Friday, has helped maintain his mental health and get him through the current crisis. You'll catch him from 6pm.
Every Saturday at 11am, again on Facebook, I pop on to join Toyah Willcox for At Home with Toyah. Once more it's a platform that allows the singer and actress to remain creative and perhaps more importantly stay connected with her fans.
This week, I also listened to a new audio drama that combined story-telling with a beautifully realised soundtrack that, at times, brought memories of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds flooding into my mind.
The Shadowpunk Revolution was first performed live at the Fringe in 2019; 'The year is 2029. A police officer investigating County Lines and the rise of drug use in his rural community discovers dealers have been using some kind of invisibility coat. His investigations lead him into a new world of techno-anarchists, who developed the coats to defend against state and corporate invasion of privacy. Their invention is a force for good, but also a force for evil. What side will our hero take?'
Unable to perform it live, co-writer Dominic Frisby headed into the studio to narrate the tale with Asaf Zohar joining him to score it with an electrifying rock soundtrack. For those old enough to remember the 70s, it is indeed a concept album of sorts, and a gripping one at that. You can check it out on Audible.
As creatives like Frisby and Zohar explore new ways of getting their work out there, for one section of the entertainment and events world, it's not that easy. Buildings across the Capital (and the country, for that fact) glowed red to highlight the plight of the unsung heroes who rig the stages, build the sets, design the shows and so, so much more - an army of thousands who are currently struggling as venues implement more and more redundancies and lay offs.
Those red glows were accompanied by 60 beams of light that shone from cities across the UK, each beam representing 10,000 jobs at risk in the event industry.
It's not just backstage either, front of house staff, marketing teams, PRs, box office staff, cleaners and customer service staff too are facing the dilemma of where their next wage will come from. And that’s before we even factor in loss of revenue for nearby bars, restaurants and even local taxis.
The time has come for the governments - both UK and devolved - to explore how they can help keep those skilled workers available for when venues reopen. And they will reopen, of that I have no doubt. The problem is, by the time they do, those with the expertise required to rebuild the industry, may already have moved on.