Campaigning updates


September is another busy month for the ISM, with our campaigns team working tirelessly responding and shaping the ever-changing political environment.

Read about what we’ve been up to in August or please visit our archive for previous updates.

If you have any questions, please contact Liam Budd our Senior External Affairs & Policy Manager at [email protected]


On Wednesday 9 September, the Prime Minister announced that from Monday 14 September social gatherings of more than six people will be banned in England, unless it meets one of a limited list of exemptions. These rules apply to people all ages, to gatherings indoors and outdoors, in homes, and in public spaces and venues. Further information for what you can and cannot do can be found on the UK government website.

We have received multiple enquiries from members asking how this will affect live performances. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed that the current rules remain unchanged and that indoor performances with socially distanced audiences continue to be permitted as long as they are Covid Secure in line with the relevant guidance. We are expecting further clarity from DCMS on how this applies to non-professional activity next week, at which point we will update our advice accordingly.

In England we remain at stage four of the government's five-stage roadmap for the return of live performance. However, it was recently reported that the government intends to safely reopen theatres and other live performance venues without social distancing from 1 November. The Prime Minister has linked the success of this objective to the ‘moonshot’ plan – a new strategy for mass testing with on-the-spot results at venues. Please read our recent press statement responding to this announcement.

We have also received enquiries regarding schools and face-to-face teaching. The new guidelines state that groups can be larger than six people for education, training and after school clubs. We will be seeking further clarification from the government and will be updating our advice pages shortly.


On Thursday 10 September, the First Minister of Scotland announced that the indicative date for the return of indoor live events in Scotland, including theatres, live music, concert halls and other indoor entertainment venues, has been delayed from 14 September to 5 October. This announcement is disappointing news as it represents a further delay before freelance musicians in Scotland can safely return to work. Please read our recent press statement responding to this announcement.

The number of people allowed to meet up in Scotland has also been cut to six amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic "accelerating".


On Friday 11 September, the Welsh Government updated its laws regarding the requirements and restrictions. From Monday 14 September, all residents over the age of 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, such as shops. There will also be a maximum limit of six on the number of people who can meet indoors at any one time, including pubs and restaurants. There will be exemptions and exceptions, such as for weddings and funerals, which will be set out in guidance.

It is extremely disappointing that there is still no clear timeline on when live performance can return and no guidance for when private teachers can resume face-to-face teaching.

Many of our members are in desperate financial difficulty and we continue to call for urgent clarity so that our members can safely transition back to work. Please read our recent press statement responding to this announcement.

The ISM is continuing to campaign tirelessly for an extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme until venues can reopen at full capacity, in order to provide essential targeted financial support for the UK’s creative sector. Please read our updated guidance on the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in relation to performers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.