West End Productions Have Mixed Response to COVID-19 Surge

London News   West End Productions Have Mixed Response to COVID-19 Surge
 
Coronavirus cases are rising in the U.K. as Step 4 begins July 19.
The West End
The West End Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com

Capacity restrictions for theatres and other enclosed spaces lifted July 19 in England as the nation entered Step 4 of COVID-19 restrictions nearly a month after originally planned. The picture in the West End remains muddled, however, with some shows moving to full capacity and others forced to cancel performances because of the virus.

Several shows in the West End have announced performance cancellations due to COVID-19 cases backstage. Andrew Lloyd Webber said on Twitter July 17 that his Cinderella musical would skip a matinee and evening performance over the weekend but would return July 19 (UPDATE: Cinderella has halted performances indefinitely as of July 19). In addition, the start of Wonderville was delayed nearly a week to July 21. Performances of Hairspray were canceled from July 5–14, but additional cases pushed the resumption to July 20.

The Prince of Egypt, which recently suspended performances from July 12–20, however, announced July 19 that it would begin playing to full capacity July 23. “We will be maintaining stringent hygiene protocols and COVID-secure measures throughout the venue, including timed arrivals and increased airflow. The wearing of face coverings by audiences will be expected and recommended, unless medically exempt,” said the producers in a statement.

Carrie Hope Fletcher and cast of <i>Cinderella</i>
Carrie Hope Fletcher and cast of Cinderella Tristram Kenton

Several shows, including The Mousetrap and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, will also begin playing to full capacity July 20. London’s National Theatre plans to open fully July 26, and Nimax Theatres—which owns venues like the Apollo and Lyric Theatres, where Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Six are playing, respectively—will now operate at 75 percent capacity.

READ: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh, Sonia Friedman, More Taking Legal Action Against U.K. Government to Release Reopening Data

Elsewhere, Deadline reports a planned U.K. tour of The Browning Version, starring Kenneth Branagh, has been scrapped. CNBC reports coronavirus cases in the U.K. are up 43 percent from last week.

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