A Halesowen theatre group have made a plea to their local MP to help ensure amateur drama companies get help to survive Covid.

They want the government to recognise that local amateur theatre groups need help as well as professional companies.

Startime Variety have thrown their weight behind a national plea from the National Operatic & Dramatic Association (NODA).

Amateur theatre groups produce over 3500 productions each year, watched by audiences of more than 2 million. These include pantos, plays and musicals.

NODA has a combined membership of over 100,000 ranging in age from 8-80 and they

between £150m - £200m in ticket sales - with at least the same produced in additional spending including: food, drink, travel and accommodation.

The vast majority of that money supports a wide range of businesses, including theatres, village and community halls, theatrical suppliers, restaurants, musicians, bars and hotels. Many groups also raise significant sums for charity.

At the moment virtually all amateur productions have been cancelled and it is unlikely there will be many, if any, productions before the end of 2021.

Now NODA are calling on the government to provide support to the amateur sector “which does so very much for the wellbeing and the economy of our country”.