Ralph Fiennes, Andrew Lloyd Webber and more sign pro-Covid passport letter to revive arts industry

"We strongly support the government’s ambition to return to full capacity audiences without restrictions as soon as possible"

Ralph Fiennes and Andrew Lloyd Webber are among high-profile figures calling on Boris Johnson to roll out Covid-19 certificate measures.

Figures from across film, TV, theatre and music have signed a letter addressed to the Prime Minister that urges the use of coronavirus “passports” to help UK venues and festivals re-open quickly this summer. It’s understood this would be either proof of vaccination, a negative coronavirus test or an antibody test that would permit attendee access.

The proposal is that people could attend plays, screenings, festivals and other arts events without the need to socially distance or wear masks, making the return to live entertainment safe and economically viable [via The Guardian].

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Others who have signed the letter include: Melvin Benn, the organiser of Latitude, Leeds and Reading festivals; actor Simon Russell Beale; actress Meera Syal; UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin; conductor Simon Rattle; theatre director Sir Nicholas Hytner, and playwright Tom Stoppard.

In the letter, which was also addressed to opposition party leaders, the signatories wrote: “We strongly support the government’s ambition to return to full capacity audiences without restrictions as soon as possible, and we recognise that this can be only be achieved through gathering evidence that it is safe to remove or lessen restrictions, including looking at how Covid-status certification could aid the reduction of social distancing.”

The letter to Johnson follows a separate one that was signed by hundreds of musicians last week in which the government was urged take action over streaming rights.

The note, from the Musicians’ Union in association with the Ivors Academy and the #BrokenRecord campaign, says that the law around streaming revenues and royalty payments “has not kept up with the pace of technological change” in the music industry. Among the 156 signees of the letter are Paul McCartneyKate BushDamon AlbarnChris MartinNoel Gallagher and Wolf Alice.

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