Why we need live performance

Why we need live performance


norman lebrecht

August 04, 2020

Jan Dalley, arts editor of the Financial Times, makes a compelling case for why concert halls need to reopen:

The past few months, with all their closures, cancellations and lockdowns, have posed some stark questions about culture. And about the performing arts in particular, the music, theatre, dance and other live events that are most sensitive to Covid-related restrictions. Do we need them? Do we care if we don’t have them? Does it matter whether or not the performance is live, in front of us, experienced together with others in an audience?

For most people the first two answers would be yes, and yes, unequivocally. But for many, the answer to the third question isn’t quite so clear. After months of relying on the digital realm, of feasting on streamed everything, from rock music to white ballet, of spending evenings curled up with Netflix, how much does live performance really matter?

Kings Place, a cultural centre in London’s King’s Cross that works as an independent charity, wants to answer that loud and clear. The centre, with its two wooden concert halls, was created only a dozen years ago by property developer Peter Millican, who is still Kings Place’s executive chair. It’s one of many venues that can’t be sustained on the very limited-capacity reopening that’s currently possible, but its programmers were determined not to allow silence to reign. Or to let our cultural starvation diet continue….

Read on here.



  • V. Lind says:

    Surely you know by now that the vast majority of us cannot “read on here.” The FT, like the Times, does not allow a small number of “free reads.”

    • Karl says:

      I was able to read it, not by clicking on the link but by googling’ Does live performance really matter? Financial Times’ and then answering a question about whether I know about Wendy’s breakfast menu. I haven’t heard about that. Exiting news!

  • Music Lover says:

    Unfortunately behind a paywall.

  • Thomasina says:

    We need live performance! I also love live streaming and video, but it’s like the books or postcards of my favorite paintings. A lot of fun to collect and observe the details, but when I have the opportunity to see the actual painting…it’s really impressive. Live performances are like that for me.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Laws should go into effect, forcing one to sign a release for all responsibility pertaining to Covid. In other words, attend at your own risk. I’m sure many would agree to that.