After the West End closed its theatres following the Prime Minister's advice not to attend pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and other social venues during the outbreak of Covid-19, most other venues across the country have followed suit.
Within little more than an hour of Johnson’s public statement, SOLT – the organisation that represents West End theatres - and UK Theatre, an association looking after the interests of the majority of regional theatres, jointly advised members to close immediately. Monday night's performance of Hamilton has been cancelled, the Royal Court, National Theatre, London Coliseum and Sadler's Wells have also closed their doors, as have the Royal Opera House and the ICA with immediate effect.
三级成人视频So what does this mean for your tickets? Here is the latest advice.
What guidelines are being offered to theatres and audiences to combat the risk?
三级成人视频The Society of London Theatres (SOLT) recently issued advice urging theatres to minimise encounters between actors and audiences at the stage door, and prevent guests from being taken backstage.
Regular deep cleaning is also taking place across the few venues still open, while all staff are being urged to follow official guidance regarding hand-washing. Some venues are even offering hand-sanitisers to audiences before shows.
Government advice is to avoid gatherings in public places like theatres and pubs. If you do attend, wash your hands frequently and try to minimise unnecessary contact with communal surfaces such as railings, bars or table-tops.
Which performances have been cancelled?
Hamilton was among the first West End productions to announce it would be suspending performances, but all SOLT member theatres have now closed their doors until April 26. This includes West End mainstays like The Lion King, Wicked, The Book of Mormon and Matilda.
三级成人视频Endgame at the Old Vic, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming, has cancelled all performances until the production's closing date, March 28. In a statement, the theatre cited how "financially devastating" the move could be, and asked theatregoers in line for a refund to donate the cost of their ticket, in return for an "exclusive video recording" of the performance, and a free one-year entitlement to "priority booking".
The Royal Court has cancelled its current production of Shoe Lady, starring Katherine Parkinson, as well as rehearsals, until further notice. The Arcola and the Turbine theatre have cancelled their performances. The National is also closed, as is the Young Vic.
三级成人视频In addition, a few larger productions have been postponed, most notably Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella musical, which will now open in October. Meanwhile, The Stage reports that two shows at Chester Storyhouse, due to open in May, are being postponed to the autumn, while David Thacker’s production of Happy Days at Bolton Library Theatre has been cancelled altogether.
The Royal Court and the Sadler's Wells three theatres (Sadler's Wells Theatre, Lilian Baylis Studio and Peacock Theatre) closed, hoping to re-open on June 9.
三级成人视频The Edinburgh International Festival cancelled its launch event for 2020, due to take place between March 18 to 25. They are going above the usual refund policy of offering refunds in the event of a cancelled event by declaring that they’ll even refund audience members unable to attend the festival for coronavirus-related reasons.
Following the example of SOLT and UK Theatre, most small venues around the country have also closed their doors.
Can I get a refund if I choose not to attend?
The EIF is being unusually kind. As a rule, if the venue hasn’t itself cancelled the event, the same generosity is unlikely to apply. SOLT's press release in light of the West End closure reads: '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.'
Sadler's Wells is also encouraging its ticket holders to donate the price of their cancelled ticket to the theatre, or use the refund as credit to purchase another ticket further down the line. The theatre is also offering full cash refunds.
How big is the risk to audience members?
While several West End playhouses can seat audiences of 800 or more, the vast majority of theatres are significantly smaller. Nonetheless, the size of the crowd isn’t what matters: the issue is your proximity to other audience members, meaning that a tiny venue above a pub may potentially be as risky as The Dominion Theatre (particularly if it’s putting on a four-hour production of Hamlet).