The Impact of Lockdown on Arts and Entertainment

The arts and entertainment industry increasingly plays a huge role in how society functions in the 21st century. In 2018, the UK Government reported that creative industries contributed more than £111 billion to the UK economy with a large amount of this coming from the film and television industry. It was also reported that employment in the creative industries sector increased significantly to 3.2 million jobs in 2018 (https://www.thecreativeindustries.co.uk/uk-creative-overview/facts-and-figures).

Despite this, the arts and entertainment industry has severely suffered at the hands of the current pandemic. This industry has been at the brunt of Covid-19 since lockdown was implemented in March and with venues closed and staff placed on furlough, arts and entertainment quickly came to a halt.

Some members of the public have recently shared the opinion that arts and culture should not be a focal point in the recovery of society after a pandemic. However, it must be considered that this industry plays a major role in both employment rates throughout the UK and as a way of providing a sense of enjoyment and an escape from day to day work and responsibilities.

A huge sector of the arts and entertainment industry revolves around TV and film which provides a form of visual entertainment. The world’s second largest cinema operator Cineworld has recently announced its temporary closure of all UK, Ireland and US screens from 8th October 2020. With 127 theatres set to close throughout the UK and an estimated 5,500 jobs at risk in the UK alone, it is believed that staff have been asked to accept redundancy with the hope to return to the company next year. It was also reported in September that Cineworld approached the UK Government to warn them that they could not survive a second lockdown after suffering a £1.3 billion loss in the first six months of 2020.

Cinema establishments were given the green light to reopen in July, providing that they could put appropriate safety measures in place. However, with limited numbers and social distancing still mandatory indoors many have found it difficult to encourage audiences to return. Filming and production also came to a stop and new releases such as the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die have been postponed until 2021.

Alongside film and TV, many other areas of arts and culture have been impacted by the pandemic. Nightclubs have turned into cocktail bars and concerts are being watched via social media. With people increasingly feeling safer in the comfort of their own four walls, streaming services such at Netflix and Disney+ have soared in the past few months. Netflix reported that an estimated 16 million people created new accounts in the first three months of 2020. Similarly, Disney+ also became one of the most popular streaming services during lockdown. Since launching in November 2019, the service has gained more than 60 million users worldwide.

As Covid-19 cases continue to persist throughout the UK. Will the way our generation experience arts and entertainment permanently change?

By Rowan Brolly

By Rowan Brolly

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