The panto dames are marching through London today, from the West End to Parliament Square, to keep the challenges of the theatre industry high on the government's agenda.


Pantomime dames lead workers from the theatre and live events industry to Parliament Square where MPs have been invited to meet those who are on the march.


These industries were some of the first to close and are only tentatively opening again. The workforce has no idea when it will be able to return to their profession as social distancing remains in place and the financial viability of the industry is being questioned.


The dames are calling for:


• An extension to the furlough scheme for the theatre and live events industries until Spring 2021 and also an exemption from employers contributions to the scheme for this sector

• An extension of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme until 2021

• Adapting the schemes to ensure those who have not been eligible are able to access them

• Government-backed insurance for live events and theatre performances

• A subsidised theatre ticket scheme while social distancing remains in place