Andrew Lloyd-Webber has made a passionate plea for the return of theatre in July of this year. In a recent theatre he explained that while nothing is more important than dealing with the life or death threat of the pandemic, further delays in the reopening of theatres could have a devastating effect on the future of the entire world of entertainment.
“The government has been doing its best in the face of this unprecedented pandemic and is as keen as anyone to get back to normal as soon as possible,” said Andrew. “However, the theatre and show world is not like other businesses. A restaurant can open in a day or two once it has stocked up with its food and drink and had a good clean but in our industry there is much more to it than that.
“We have to stock up just the same but when shows have been closed for so long it is almost like starting again – even with a completely new cast in some cases. Rehearsals and other arrangements can take six weeks or so and that is why we need longer to prepare.
“The government is hoping that many or most restrictions can be lifted in June but for theatre that means that we will not be able to open properly until late July or even August.
“I am determined that our theatres will open and our shows will go on and I really hope that others in the theatre world will be of the same mind. Clearly there will be a need for vigilance for some time to come. I have always had a bit of a thing about ventilation and so in our theatres we have spent vast sums making sure that we have the best in ventilation for the comfort and safety of both members of the audience and the cast and support people.
“We do need to look at ourselves and make sure we are doing the very best we can but I cannot see any reason why we cannot aim for all our theatres to be open by the end of July. Of course, we would not violate anything that the government has put in place but we must work positively towards reopening.
“Our Cinderella pantomime will go ahead along with all our other shows in the West End and I would really like to see the rest of the entertainment industry rising to the occasion as well.”