Friday, March 27, 2020

'I'm stressed, sick and skint': how coronavirus is hitting arts workers | The Guardian

We asked arts workers for their stories of how the lockdown is affecting their livelihoods. Here are their responses

This week we asked arts workers to share how their livelihoods were being affected by the coronavirus. Since then, the UK government’s measures to give financial aid to the self-employed will help the sector – but many are still deeply concerned about the lack of work available in the coming months. Here are some of the nearly 150 stories we received. Thanks to everyone who got in touch.

Stephen Laughton, 38, playwright and TV writer
My play, One Jewish Boy, opened in the West End on 10 March – a huge step up for me. I had TV deals lined up, a movie deal on the cards, another play about to start in New York. The play managed to stay open for one week. It got us to press night, and much like its original fringe run, was a critical success – four and five stars, and that first week was packed out. It was the moment I’d been waiting for. But I knew what was coming – a moment I hoped I would cherish for ever was tinged with crushing defeat. It felt as if everything we had worked for – all the abuse (my play is about antisemitism and I was on the receiving end of a lot of it), all the hard work, the blood, joy, sweat and tears – just faded away. The next day it got worse: I didn’t quite take in the monumental loss of having every gig I had lined up, cancelled. In the short term, I’m pretty screwed, the financial loss from the cancellation of two plays, a TV and a film gig has hit the tens of thousands. That makes it sound as if I always earn at this level – I don’t and I haven’t. I’ve been working hand to mouth and now, when it looked as if I might finally be able to breathe, I don’t know when I’ll get paid again. I just need to find a way to keep my head above water.

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