Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has received representations from representatives of (a) dancing schools, (b) the Royal Shakespeare Company and (c) other stage-based entertainment bodies on how those bodies can reopen and operate in conformity with social distancing rules; whether he has made an assessment of the practicability of those proposals; and what support his Department provides to those bodies to ensure that they will not cease to exist before their reopening is permitted by the Government. 
[Due for Answer on 15 June.]
The Minister of State for Digital and Culture (Caroline Dinenage): In order to ensure appropriate support and guidance is given to the cultural sector, DCMS has established the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Entertainment and Events working group which include extensive membership from across the artistic and creative industries sectors. The focus of these groups’ work is on ensuring that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phasing ambitions and public health directions, building on the existing guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input. These groups specifically include representatives for dance and stage based entertainment, all of whom are being consulted extensively on how the sector can reopen and operate under social distancing. Full details of the Taskforce can be found at
and the Entertainment and Events Working Group can be found at
The Secretary of State, my fellow Ministers and DCMS officials continue to consult the creative and cultural sectors extensively to ensure they understand fully the potential impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector. DCMS officials and ministers have also held regular calls with representatives from across the arts and cultural sector and these have included representatives from the Royal Shakespeare Company and a number of dance schools and representatives including Sadler’s Wells and Northern Ballet.
The Secretary of State and DCMS are committed to supporting the cultural sector through this pandemic and getting the curtain up at venues across the country as soon as it is safe to do so. In addition to the unprecedented financial measures the Government has announced DCMS has also worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding.