One year ago, today, our theatres around the country had their last performance, not knowing they would not open again on Monday.

A few days later, Boris Johnson announced the first (of three) lockdown.

The closure brought to its knees Britain's world-leading performing arts sector.

One year later, theatres are still closed.


Let’s look back at the year that changed our lives.


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12 March, 2020 – Broadway theatres close by order of Governor Andrew Cuomo


16 March – The West End goes dark

2 April – Andrew Lloyd Webber launches “The show must go on”, his YouTube channel that, over the following months, will stream some of his famous musicals, like “The Phantom of the Opera” (seen by 11 millions).


14 May – Frozen announces that it will not reopen on Broadway, after the pandemic.


15 June – West End Live announces it will have some streaming performances online


5 July - Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces a 1.5 bn lifeline to theatres, music venues and museums, dramatically impacted by the Covid19 crisis


7 July - Theatres around the country light up red to show support for the events and live entertainment industries thanks to the online campaign called #LightItInRed

9 July - Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announces that outdoor performances will be able to begin from 11 July.


15 July - Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre announces a special concert staging of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar from August 14th


23 July – Andrew Lloyd Webber organises a pilot performance featuring Beverley Knight at the London Palladium with social distancing in place.


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1 August - Hundreds of staff from the National Theatre and Southbank Centre protest the mass redundancies of low-paid arts workers, and the failure to honour agreed redundancy rates after the loss of around 400 hundreds of jobs.



13 August – The Government announces that indoor theatre, music and performance venues will be able to reopen with socially distanced audiences from 15 August


13 September - Nimax Theatres announces to open all six West End theatres in sequence from October 22nd with social distancing under COVID-19 Secure government guidelines.


30 September - The panto dames march in London, from the West End to Parliament Square, to keep the challenges of the theatre industry high on the government's agenda.



6 October - 400 musicians stage a mini-concert to highlight the impact of coronavirus calling for financial support from the government.

(photo: Alan Doyle)

10 October – Cameron Mackintosh announces that Les Miserables -The Staged Concert is opening in London on the 5th of December 2020 for 6 weeks at Sondheim Theatre


29 October - Theatre performers, creatives, technicians and all the other talented individuals who make theatre work gather in Parliament Square for the #WeMakeEvents #whatwebring campaign.


31 October - England will go into a second national lockdown for a month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces. Theatres will close again.


23 November - Boris Johnson announces the end of lockdown and the introduction of a new Tier system. London is in tier 2, with theatres able to be open with social distancing from 3 December.


14 December – The Government announces that London is moving into tier 3 – theatre will close.


22 February 2021 - Boris Johnson announces full details of his plan that foresees a significant return to normality in four months. Key dates include:

• 17 May at the earliest: Indoor meetings, reopening of pubs, restaurants, hotels, cinema, theatres, and stadia, subject to limited capacity (social distancing). Theatres will be able to welcome audiences back with 1,000 people or 50% capacity

• 21 June at the earliest: All legal limits on social contact set to be removed, with the remaining sectors of the economy reopened. Weddings are the only events where some restrictions may have to remain (theatres with NO social distancing).