Following official government advice issued today (Monday 16 March), which stipulates that people should avoid public buildings including theatres, it has been announced that SOLT and UK Theatre member venues will be closed from tonight, to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
That is pretty much the entirety of the West End.
Adelphi, Aldwych, Ambassadors, Apollo, Apollo Victoria, Barbican, Cambridge, Criterion, Dominion, Duchess, Duke of York’s, Fortune, Garrick, Gielgud, Gillian Lynne, Harold Pinter, Her Majesty’s, London Coliseum, London Palladium, Lyceum, Lyric, National Theatre, Noël Coward, Novello Palace, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Playhouse, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, Regent’s Park Open Air, Royal Court (Jerwood Theatre Downstairs), Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells, Savoy, Shaftesbury, Shakespeare’s Globe, Sondheim (formerly Queen’s), St Martin’s, Trafalgar Studios 1, The Old Vic, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Theatre Royal Haymarket, Troubadour Wembley Park, Troubadour White City, Vaudeville, Victoria Palace, Wyndham’s, Almeida, Arcola, Arts, Bloomsbury, Boulevard, Bush, Cadogan Hall, Donmar Warehouse, Greenwich, Hackney Empire, Hampstead, Kiln, Lyric Hammersmith, Menier Chocolate Factory, New Wimbledon Theatre, Park, Peacock, Polka, Soho, Rose Theatre Kingston, The Other Palace, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Trafalgar Studios 2, Unicorn, Young Vic.
The theatres will remain closed until further notice and will re-open as soon as possible, following government recommendations.
Audience members for a show that has been cancelled will be contacted by their ticket providers and are entitled to a refund. Ticketholders are asked to bear in mind that customer service teams are currently extremely busy.
Julian Bird, Chief Executive of SOLT and UK Theatre, said………..
‘We are extremely grateful to all of our audiences who have continued to support us for as long as they can, and to theatre staff across the country who have worked so hard in recent weeks to ensure the safety and enjoyment of audiences. Closing venues is not a decision that is taken lightly, and we know that this will have a severe impact on many of the 290,000 individuals working in our industry. In these uncertain times, SOLT and UK Theatre remain committed to helping provide vital support for those in need, and hope we are able to welcome audiences back to our theatres before too long.’
Many theatres that have been forced to cancel performances are charitable enterprises, and while ticketholders are all entitled to a refund for cancelled performances, those who can afford to do so are encouraged to donate the cost of their ticket to show support for the theatre industry.
Over the coming weeks, SOLT and UK Theatre will continue provide updates to the industry and the public as the situation changes, sharing current government and NHS advice.
In America, New York City Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, announced that as all Broadway theatres over 500 capacity, will be closed down for a minimum of one month, due to safety concerns over the spread of the Coronavirus.
Something like this hasn’t been seen on Broadway since the 2007 strikes by theatre workers, which lasted 19 days. Even during 9/11, theatres were only closed for two days.
This news comes the day after a Broadway Usher was diagnosed with the virus. Charlotte St. Martin is President of the Broadway League, she told us……
“Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals,” “Broadway has the power to inspire, enrich and entertain, and together we are committed to making that vital spirit a reality. Once our stages are lit again, we will welcome fans back with open arms so that they can continue to experience the joy, heart, and goodwill that our shows so passionately express every night.”
The lost revenue could top $100 million.
So will the West End be forced to follow in the coming days and weeks. And how will that impact around the rest of the UK and here in South Wales? Decisions won’t be taken lightly but due to safety reasons and to contain the virus that is spreading, London may be left with no choice but to do so and then who knows.
The consequences of this will be huge could see many shows close due to lack of funds as if there are no shows there are no audiences buying tickets and theatre rentals may still need to be paid.
The team from the musical SIX, which was here only a few weeks ago, and has cast and production links with South Wales, was to have its Press Night tonight, obviously that didn’t happen.