Days After Reopening, London Theaters Should Shut
LONDON — On Dec. 5, “Six” — the hit present in regards to the wives of Henry VIII — staged a triumphant comeback when it grew to become the primary musical to be staged in London’s West Finish because the coronavirus pandemic started in March.
Now, simply 9 days later, that comeback has been delivered to a pointy halt.
Matt Hancock, Britain’s well being secretary, introduced on Monday that the federal government was tightening restrictions in London, in addition to different elements of southern England, due to a “very sharp, exponential rise” in coronavirus circumstances. The brand new restrictions, which embody a ban on theatrical performances and the closure of different indoor cultural establishments, like museums, would take impact Wednesday, he added. Pubs and eating places would additionally shut, although they may nonetheless provide takeout.
“For companies affected, it will likely be a big blow, however this motion is completely important,” Hancock stated, addressing Britain’s Parliament.
Many theaters in London have been closed because the starting of the pandemic, in March, although some smaller exhibits returned in the summertime, with lowered audiences and socially distanced performers.
In November, some main productions, together with “Six,” have been slated to return, however the British authorities introduced a nationwide lockdown that scrapped their plans.
That lockdown lifted on Dec. 2 and England moved to a tiered system of restrictions, with differing guidelines across the nation, together with for cultural occasions.
Monday’s announcement that London would transfer to “tier three,” the best degree of restrictions, was “devastating for the town’s world-leading theater trade,” Julian Chook, chief govt of the Society of London Theatre, stated in a information launch.
“The previous few days have seen venues starting to reopen with excessive ranges of Covid safety, welcoming again enthusiastic, socially distanced audiences,” he added. Theaters throughout London “will now be pressured to postpone or cancel deliberate performances, inflicting catastrophic monetary difficulties for venues, producers and hundreds of trade staff,” he stated.
A number of theater producers echoed these feedback in statements. The closure was “a hammer blow to an trade which has been preventing valiantly to deliver tradition and neighborhood to folks’s lives this Christmas,” Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook, the producers of “The Nice Gatsby,” stated in a joint e-mail.
Britain’s authorities had “created a state of affairs the place hundreds of thousands of kilos have been spent on re-launching productions and shut them down simply as income is about to be generated,” the assertion added.
Many theaters had begun presenting vacation fare, together with a number of pantomimes, a very British theater kind, in style at Christmas: The Nationwide Theater’s manufacturing “Dick Whittington” opened on Friday, and “Pantoland,” at London Palladium, started its run on Saturday.
Kenny Wax, one of many producers of “Six,” stated in a phone interview that he felt “unbelievable disappointment for everybody who’s labored so laborious” to deliver exhibits again to the West Finish after the nationwide lockdown.
Wax stated he anticipated the closure in London would final a minimum of 4 weeks. Throughout that point, staff on his productions have been unlikely to be paid, he stated, including that to do this with out income coming in from ticket gross sales would bankrupt his firm. However he stated he hoped to get his exhibits again on as quickly as attainable to get cash flowing to the various freelance artists who work on “Six” — not simply the actors, however the musicians, technicians and ushers.
“If from now it’s ‘a number of weeks on, a number of weeks off,’ we’ll most likely preserve doing that,” he stated. “We’ll preserve making an attempt.”
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