London Theatres Devastated To Close Again Under Tier 3 Restrictions

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London Theatres Devastated To Close Again Under Tier 3 Restrictions

London theatres have been given the “devastating news” that they must shut again as the city moves into England’s highest tier of Covid-19 restrictions.

A number of West End shows had restarted over the last two weeks.

The Society of London Theatre said the move would cause “catastrophic financial difficulties” for venues, producers and thousands of workers.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said he knew it would have a “huge impact” but that the government “must act quickly”.

The measures mean Tuesday night will see the last live performances in London for an indefinite period.

Socially distanced performances to smaller audiences had been allowed in London since the last national lockdown ended.

Shows that had opened included Six the Musical, Love Letters, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and a concert version of Les Miserables starring Michael Ball and Alfie Boe.

“It was nice while it lasted,” tweeted Carrie Hope Fletcher, who was also part of the Les Miserables cast at the Sondheim Theatre.

‘Constant changes of rules’

Producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, whose shows include Les Miserables, said the government’s “sudden volt[e] face” was “devastating for both the theatre and the economy”.

“The constant changes of rules and advice we have received is impossible for any business to react to,” he continued. “Where is the leadership this government promised?”

He now had “no idea when theatres are to be allowed to reopen”, he added.

image captionAlfie Boe plays Jean Valjean in the Cameron Mackintosh production

Andrew Lloyd Webber, who owns the London Palladium, said it seemed “arbitrary and unfair” that theatre performances were being banned while shopping could continue. But he said he “reluctantly” agrees with the decision to put London into tier three.

Pantoland at the Palladium, starring Julian Clary, Elaine Paige, Ashley Banjo and Nigel Havers, was among the other shows to have opened. On Friday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took their three children to a special performance of the production.

Producer Michael Harrison announced on Twitter that its “final” two performances would take place on Tuesday and criticised the government’s “yo-young approach on advice”.

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He said: “It is not possible for any business to function in an environment where our leaders seem to have no idea how our country will look from one week to the next.”

The National Theatre will also have to close Dick Whittington, only the second pantomime it has ever staged.

London Theatres Devastated To Close Again Under Tier 3 Restrictions

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