The arts industry has been hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with 46 per cent of workers still furloughed, figures suggested on Thursday.
A business survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that the arts, entertainment and recreation industry had the largest proportion of its workforce on furlough at a time that venues are struggling to reopen.
The figures for the sector, based on responses between July 13 and 26, far outstripped other hard-hit professions such as accommodation and food services, which had 31 per cent of its workforce on furlough.
The Government recently postponed plans to allow indoor live performances to return to the UK, warning the country "cannot be complacent" amid a rise in the infection rate.
It has left many theatres and other venues in a parlous financial state, even after Boris Johnson last month announced a £1.57 billion support package.
The ONS found the arts sector had the largest proportion of businesses indicating that operating costs were exceeding turnover, at 42 per cent.
In a more positive development, the industry also reported the highest proportion of the workforce - 25 per cent - returning from furlough leave in the last two weeks before the survey.
It was followed by the accommodation and food services sector, where 17 per cent had recently returned, and the construction sector, where 10 per cent were off furlough.
The majority of the workforce across all industries were either working remotely or at their normal place of work, 38 per cent and 44 per cent respectively, according to the ONS.
Earlier this week, Bectu, the entertainment union, wrote to the Culture Secretary calling for grants to be paid out in August to allow theatres and live venues to “halt redundancies and support their workforce”.
Its head, Philippa Childs, said that organisations still do not know whether they will be eligible for grants or loans or exactly when the money will be paid out.
"Theatre and live events contribute a huge amount to the UK economy and we must ensure that, as well as saving buildings, that we also support the creatives and crew that make our cultural industries truly world-beating," Ms Childs said.