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Watermill and Donnington Castle Red Alert light-up tonight

Nationwide solidarity for live entertainment industry under threat

Trish Lee

Trish Lee


01635 886663

Watermill and Donnington Castle Red Alert light-up tonight

Bagnor’s Watermill theatre will join more than 300 venues across the country in the Red Alert industry day of action, turning their lights red this evening (Tuesday) to highlight the crisis the live events sector faces and the threat of job losses.

And from 9pm to 11pm, West Berkshire-based Moonraker Disco in solidarity with thousands of other events companies and suppliers across the UK, is lighting Donnington Castle red, as part of #WeMakeEvents associated under PLASA (the Professional Light and Sound Association), the membership body for those who supply technologies and services to the event and entertainment industries.

Virtually all venues have been closed since March and although some outdoor shows have been produced since restrictions eased, including The Watermill’s acclaimed socially-distanced Sherlock Holmes spoof The Hound of the Baskervilles in the theatre’s idyllic grounds, indoor performances with audiences are not yet permitted and there is no indication as to when they might return.

The industry reports that more than a million professionals are at risk of losing their jobs without additional financial support from the Government. The furlough scheme and support for self-employed people are due to end in the coming months, although many freelancers have not been eligible.

Family-run events and entertainments business Moonraker Disco works with venues, hotels and clients throughout the county and beyond, supplying DJs alongside visual, sound, lighting and stages for parties, corporate events and weddings.

Ben Pike from Moonraker said: “From mid-March until now, six months and ongoing of zero work, zero turnover and income have been removed from our books.

"It has been a really difficult and unprecedented time, impacting sadly not just the couples and venues we are booked with, but our small in-house team and our DJs in particular, not knowing when they will play again (in public that is).

"We have been compassionately working in partnership with our clients and couples to schedule postponed events and weddings in particular, mostly now until next year, while we all patiently wait for the green light.

"We are 'surviving' for now, but how can any business plan to continue in this limbo?

"The industry has been waiting for answers, we now need official guidance, a timeline to recovery, and we need continued Government support to reach the other side.

“Covid-19 has devastated and disrupted our small family run business like so many others, with uncertainty and the unsettlingly unknown of when we will be working again.

"The events sector has not been catered for thus far. All we are asking for is some idea of a roadmap back to a new 'normal', and financial support so businesses like ours and many others all over, can survive, plan and hope again for the future.

“So as you look out at Donnington Castle, with its impressive 14th-century twin towered gatehouse, lit up in red by Moonraker Disco, you'll understand the reason behind the glow. This powerful and significant show of unison across the UK Events sector, we hope shows our Government they cannot ignore our industry and voices any longer.”




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Article comments

  • Newbury Biddies

    11/08/2020 - 22:20

    Just a load of selfish business owners whining... 45,000 plus people have died and these people are worried about their jobs... but have made no effort to seek alternate employment during this period when there was a demand. Attention seeking stunt yet again


  • From Luddite Lodge

    11/08/2020 - 16:33

    They're turning Newbury into a red light district. I blame Dame Hilary Cole