Indoor theatre performances with social distancing greenlit for 15 August, announces Government

Posted on 14 August 2020

The UK Government has given the go-ahead for socially distanced indoor performances in England to resume.

Indoor theatre in England to resume with social distancing this Saturday

Originally meant to start up again on the 1st of August before ending up being delayed due to a rising prevalence in coronavirus cases, socially distanced indoor performances are now permitted to resume in England on the 15th of August, it has been confirmed.

The news comes after Beverley Knight gave a successful pilot performance of a COVID-compliant show at the London Palladium last month. Despite many venues finding it financially impossible to re-open their doors with shows at reduced capacity, it does provide at least some relief for the industry, albeit very small.

Boris Johnson: "[We] will not hesitate to put on the brakes"

When announcing that socially distanced indoor performances would now get the green light to resume this Saturday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also warned: "[We] will not hesitate to put on the brakes if required, or to continue to implement local measures to help to control the spread of the virus."

The loosening of theatre restrictions will not apply to regions in England that are under a localised lockdown due to high rates of infection in the area. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland will autonomously decide when performances will be permitted to take place.

When will the UK get to Stage 5 and open theatres without social distancing?

The return of indoor performances with social distancing measures in place is considered to be Stage 4 of Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden's reopening plan. It is unlikely that Stage 5 will get the green light before November, according to a recent interview with Dowden, which subsequently caused the Lyric Hammersmith panto production of Aladdin 2020 to be postponed along with a number of Qdos pantomime shows that have been cancelled this year. Other festive shows could be next as a result of the uncertainty.

What socially distanced shows are on in London's West End?

So far, theatre fans can look forward to a socially distanced autumn season at the Bridge Theatre, the world premiere of Sleepless: A Musical Romance at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, and West End performances of The Mousetrap, the last of which was made possible thanks to the Agatha Christie estate accepting a reduction in royalties and St Martins Theatre offering the production lower rent.

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.