More UK arts venues face staff cuts due to the pandemic, as Hong Kong Disneyland closes its doors again after a brief reopening…

Birmingham venues

Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and Town Hall, whose ticket sales account for 90 per cent of their turnover, has announced major staff cuts due to COVID-19.

The charity, which runs two of the city’s most important venues, said it has entered a period of redundancy consultation with the prospect of losing half of its 65 permanent staff.

It added that the cuts, including hundreds of freelancers who work on the shows and concerts, are essential to ensure the venues’ survival after being closed since mid-March due to the pandemic.

The venues have called for clarity on when they may be able to reopen and the government’s rescue package.

The venues said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that Town Hall and Symphony Hall have entered a period of redundancy consultation.

“The future of these two iconic concert halls looks very different from the plans we began the year with. This period of closure has already resulted in huge losses and it is still unclear when it may be possible to reopen.”

Symphony Hall, which is often considered to be one of the best in the world acoustically, is home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The Town Hall has hosted political and public meetings and performances by Charles Dickens, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland has been forced to close its gates once again due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the region.

The theme park, which reopened less than a month ago after closing in January due to the pandemic, will temporarily close from tomorrow (Wednesday).

During the attraction’s brief reopening, visitors and staff were required to wear masks, practice social distancing and have their temperature checked upon entry.

Hong Kong’s Ocean Park is also seeing a temporary closure and will cease operation from July 14 to 21 to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic with all reservations during the period cancelled.

Customers with general admission tickets that are valid for use on the dates affected, “can keep their admission tickets for direct ticket exchange or refund by the Park.”

Hong Kong has reverted to stricter social distancing guidelines, with public gathering limited from 50 to four people from tomorrow.

Japanese venue

Pia Arena MM, owned by Japanese ticketing and publishing company Pia, hosted its first ever onstage performance on Friday with J-pop duo Yuzu livestreaming the gig.

Pia Corporation, which operates Japan’s leading ticket agency, Ticket Pia, was due to open the 10,000-seat indoor arena in April, but was postponed due to COVID-19.

The Yokohama arena will only be used for music, with the company aiming to stage more than 200 concerts annually.

Yuzu became the first act to perform onstage for a virtual audience to accommodate the company’s desire that the act open the new Yokohama hall.

Image: JimmyGuano / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Edited for size