When will theatres open again? This is a question we at LTR are asked everyday. And we can understand why.
London theatres are an intrinsic part of the city's culture, and they are also a business that gives work to thousands of people.
Lockdown restrictions in the UK will continue for "at least" until May 7th, it has been announced by the government.
The lockdown started on the 23rd of March. At that point, West End theatres were already closed, following Broadway’s lead, which went dark on March 13th.
Some shows, like Sister Act, at the Eventim Apollo in London, have already been postponed to 2021.
Some theatres in the US plan to re-open in the summertime with a reconfigured main auditorium, spacing out audience members to maintain distancing while watching the shows, multiple entrances, and no interval. Is this something that could work for London too?
Theatres are considering a different number of scenarios, from a July/August one, to shows not opening until late spring 2021.
Recently, Above the Stag Theatre (London) made a press release saying that funding has been agreed to cover the theatre’s costs up to two years of closure.
Realistically, social distancing measures may need to remain in place for a long time, after the relaxation of the lockdown (someone said “indefinitely”).
So, because of "significant level" of social distancing will have to be possibly kept until a vaccine for coronavirus is found, it is possible theatres will be closed until then.
Scientists across the globe are racing to find a jab to stop the spread: the official timeframe is around a year, but this could happen earlier, or later.
Coronavirus has changed the world as we knew it: how much of our lives will it change — permanently- is still unknown. The situation evolves every day and we all – including theatres – need to be flexible in our planning and thinking.
This is worrying, but for the moment, all we can do is be safe and stay positive.
We will rise again.