Manchester theatre staff use skills to upgrade homes after Covid layoffs

Manchester theatre staff use skills to upgrade homes after Covid layoffs

A number of theatre workers who lost their jobs when the coronavirus crisis forced live venues to close are retraining to insulate and upgrade homes as part of the fight against climate breakdown.

Stage hands, technicians and joiners from theatres and live venues across Manchester and the north-west are using their skills to retrofit homes in the region, installing insulation, fitting windows and upgrading heating systems.

The scheme was set up by Andrew Glassford, 29, who had worked as a sound engineer before the pandemic hit. He said: “I am really proud and pleased with what we have achieved, just for the fact that I have been able to get my friends work that is meaningful, that helps them but also helps tackle the climate crisis.”

Glassford set up the Retrofit Get In initiative in September when he joined forces with Red Co-op – a cooperative that specialises in retrofitting buildings. So far about a dozen former theatre workers have been employed but he hopes to expand the programme and establish a formal training scheme for unemployed theatre staff.

“We have had people insulating the loft, removing a floor, insulating walls, putting in a bay window,” he said. “They have done all sorts of things they would not necessarily have thought they have the skills to do with a little bit of guidance and help.”

Alan Tierney, 34, who worked backstage at the Lowry theatre in Manchester for 16 years is one of those involved.…

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