Theaters in London’s West End, Elsewhere in U.K., Close Temporarily

By Paul Riegler on 16 March 2020
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Theatergoers at Wyndham’s Theatre in London last week

Theaters in West End will temporarily close effective Monday “until further notice,” as part of a move to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The move was announced by the Society of London Theatre as well as the UK Theatre Association. All West End theaters and all theaters that are members of the UK Theatre Association will remain closed. A reopening date was not announced. It came after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraged people there to work from home and not to go theaters as well as restaurants and pubs.

“We are extremely grateful to all of our audiences who have continued to support us for as long as they can, and to theatre staff across the country who have worked so hard in recent weeks to ensure the safety and enjoyment of audiences,” said Julian Bird, the society’s CEO, adding that theaters “hope we are able to welcome audiences back to our theatres before too long.”

The move comes four days after Broadway theaters closed their doors, with plans to reopen April 12. Since then, the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that calls for limiting any gathering or event to a maximum of 50 people for the next eight weeks will likely mean that the reopening of the theaters will be postponed.

Even before the announcement was made, several theaters had opted to close.  The Old Vic was the first, bringing its run of “Endgame” starring Daniel Radcliffe to a close two weeks early.  The Arcola, Turbine Theatre and Young Vic quickly followed suit.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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