THEATRES will not survive for the next 100 days unless the Government steps in with a rescue package, the Cliffs Pavilion’s boss said today.

Ellen McPhillips, theatre director at the Cliffs and the Palace Theatre in Westcliff, spoke as a campaign was launched to turn buildings red to highlight the perilous state of the industry.

The campaign calls for specific grants to be made available, the furlough scheme to be extended until the industry is up and running, and an extension of the self-employment scheme.

Mrs McPhillips has demanded more support in the hope Southend’s theatres can re-open soon.

She said: “Venues up and down the land closed their doors in March with no prospect of re-opening in the near future.

“Thousands of jobs are at risk and massive economic damage looms if this industry does not survive intact.

“The goal of this initiative is to press the Government to support this billion-pound industry, and to do so quickly.

“Many venues will not survive the next 100 days if support measures are not announced.

“Once lost, this industry cannot be easily rebuilt.

The campaign, which started in Germany, has been backed by Southend Council - as fears mount venues will not survive the next 100 days.

Buildings across the borough will be lit up to show support for the industry as it continues to struggle during the pandemic.

The Priory Park bandstand, Civic Centre, lighting columns on City Beach, as well as both the Cliffs Pavilion and Palace Theatre, will all be illuminated as part of the Light it in Red campaign.

The council has thrown its weight behind the campaign.

Mrs McPhillips added: “The Cliffs Pavilion and Palace Theatre are part of this industry and are only too happy to add our voice to Light it in Red.”

Theatres across the country have begun announcing permanent closures in recent weeks due to the crisis casued by Covid-19.