THE Scottish Government's acknowledgement of the plight the performing arts industry in Scotland has been facing with social distancing requirements was welcome. We were all delighted when it was announced last month that, along with England, social distancing restrictions would be lifted and we could reopen our theatres again.

The guidance for theatres producing work was that we should behave responsibly in the rehearsal room – which we are all delighted to do.

However, new guidelines and instructions were published last week concerning the reopening of performing arts venues in Scotland and it seems we are now back to lockdown conditions again. We are told that barriers or a one-metre rule must be applied on stage and in the rehearsal room: "A person who is performing does not need to wear a face covering if there is a partition between that person and other people or if there is at least 1m between that person and other people."

For a one-person show that is not a problem. Tron Theatre, like many others, has just contracted an ensemble of 11 actors for a major new production for this autumn – to coincide with COP26 in fact – and now that production will be put in jeopardy by this new restriction. In England there are no such restrictions, which means productions coming to Scotland will need to be restructured accordingly and likewise Scottish productions going down south.

The huge irony is that while nightclubs were at the end of the queue and, even under level zero, had to remain shut, they can now function without any masks or social distancing – if patrons are on the dance floor or in the bar – which is effectively everywhere apart from the toilets.

We were planning to put rehearsal protocols in place involving daily lateral tests for all cast and crew and appropriate sanitising and health procedures at all times. However, the re-introduction of an insistence on the one-metre rule or barriers on stage throws our work into chaos. The Scottish Government must reconsider.

Andy Arnold, Artistic Director, Tron Theatre, Glasgow.


STRUGGLES in Brazil may seem a long way away from life in Scotland, however events which are unfolding in Brazil just now may well affect us all. The indigenous peoples of Brazil are facing a coordinated attack by the Brazilian government which is leading towards genocide and ecocide. There are legal challenges and a raft of new bills being pushed through that are focused on legalising the removal of indigenous peoples from the Amazon and accelerating the destructive extraction and exploitation of the forest.

The Amazon is really close to a tipping point where it would turn into a savannah grassland. Already the Amazon is emitting more carbon than it absorbs, most of which is being emitted from the most exploited areas of the forest. If the Amazon goes, this will be devastating in terms of the global climate.

The indigenous peoples of Brazil are trying to protect the Amazon and are putting their lives on the line, with many remote isolated groups already being violently attacked. Today (August 25) the Supreme Court in Brazil will be deciding whether the Xokleng people have a right to a large portion of land they are protecting. This case will set the precedent for huge areas of disputed land in the forest across Brazil, so could allow the destruction of significant parts of the Amazon if the judgement is against the Xokleng people. They are asking for international support as they face their potential genocide and the ecocide of the Amazon. At the very least, we could pay attention.

Paul Mather, Aboyne.


THE SNP/Green alliance could instil a bit of confidence in the general public by attending to an annual grievance held by many folk. I refer of course to the annual bomb-fest caused by the continuous use of exploding fireworks from around now until New Year.

It should be fairly simple to pass legislation banning the import, sale and use of exploding fireworks. No exemptions. Then perhaps people can hear the New Year bells rather than the bombs.

Bernard Zonfrillo, Glasgow.


I THANK David Gray (Letters, August 23) for his interest in my letter of August 21 and for his comments concerning AJ Cronin. My statement in regard to the comparison with JK Rowling requires clarification. It relates to the first year book sales of The Citadel which were not surpassed until JK Rowling’s Harry Potter. In regard to the overall sales of his books, many of his 25 novels were on the best-selling lists. Remarkably, five were chosen for the American Armed Services Edition in the Second World War and his novels were translated into many languages around the world.

Frank Dunn, Lenzie.


I GUESS well-heeled lovers of ballet will be salivating over the forthcoming auction of 26-year old Royal Lochnagar from Diageo’s Sleeping Beauty Cask of Distinction in support of Scottish Ballet ("Whisky world’s Sleeping Beauty awakens", The Herald, August 24 ).

I imagine aficionados of the twin joys of ballet and whisky will anticipate elevating tripping the light fantastic to The Seven Movements, perhaps beginning with adagio the morning after the night before.

R Russell Smith, Largs.


MIKE Wilson (Letters, August 24) writes well of, inter alia, the leadership recruitment process adopted by UK plc.

Greek philosopher Plato knew a bit about this when he opined: "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber".

David Miller, Milngavie.