The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has announced today that all West End theatres will remain closed until at least 2 August 2020. The suspension of theatre performances has been announced on a rolling basis. Unfortunately, this does not necessarily mean theatres will reopen on 3 August as the government still has yet to release any details on how theatres and performance venues can reopen with social distancing measures in place.
SOLT also confirmed that different shows may choose to open at different times. So far, the producers of TINA: The Tina Turner Musical have decided to keep the show cancelled up until Saturday, 29 August 2020 whilst Matilda will also remain closed until at least 30 August 2020. Some shows such as Witness for the Prosecution have decided to cancel even further, with performances suspended up to and including Sunday, 20 September 2020. Then there is Be More Chill, which sadly decided to cancel all remaining performances altogether.
Other shows like The Great Gatsby have given hope for the future of the West End. The immersive Gatsby experience just announced today that they would be reopening from 1 October, this time with new social distancing measures in place. It goes to show that theatre can indeed continue so long as it is safe, clean, and secure. Meanwhile, The Drive In cinema at the Troubadour Meridian Water and the ENO's drive-in opera performances at Alexandra Palace Theatre seem to be a blueprint for UK theatre as well.
UK theatre industry in desperate need of action
The new extension of closures could spell dire financial hardship for many theatres and employees and the UK's furlough scheme has certainly come under fire as a result. So far, the UK Government and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have failed to come up with a solution for workers in the entertainment business, which is expected to be the last sector to reopen as social distancing measures slowly begin to ease. This comes despite a series of letters from the community urging for government intervention now.
Be sure to read SOLT's announcement in full below. Find out how to support UK theatres here.