As gyms and beauty salons reopen, northern culture is left out in the cold
'I feel the devastation and the pain that many freelancers are going through'
“We have missed performing so, so much,” says a player from Manchester Camerata. She’s standing on stage in the magnificent Leeds Town Hall, one of the grandest and most palatial buildings in the North. “Well done Leeds,” she almost shouts, to warm applause.
There are around 100 people in the audience — mostly wearing masks. Everyone is spaced out by a few yards, with some audience members sitting in household clusters of two or three people. The effect is something like a school exam hall, with spaces added to prevent cheating. On the way in I am asked to disinfect my hands by a masked doorman, who points out my seat - a lonely chair in the middle of the floor.
The experience feels very safe. Or Covid-secure, to adopt the government’s chosen terminology. No one in the audience comes close to touching anyone else. We are in one of the roomiest spaces imaginable and there’s no need to pass each other looking for the unsalted butter in Aisle 3 or to rub each other’s sweat into our pores…