The Latest: theatreland begins to reopen cover photo

The Latest: theatreland begins to reopen

The Latest: theatreland begins to reopen cover photo
Theatre updates COVID-19 avatar
Theatre updates COVID-19
27 August 2020 · Follow on Stagedoor

Here's a quick guide to the situation as we go into the Autumn

A lot is uncertain about theatre at the moment. What happens over the next few months will depend on a few things; how the government's policies change, what theatre makers decide to do and how audiences behave.

The Government's 5-step plan to reopen theatres

The Culture Secretary has created a roadmap for the reopening of theatres:

Step 1: Rehearsal and training. No audiences allowed and adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Step 2: Performances for broadcasting and recording are allowed. Still adhering to social distancing.

Step 3: Outdoor performances with an audience. Pilots for indoor performances with a limited distanced audience.

Step 4: Performances allowed indoors and outdoors. Indoor audience must remain limited.

Step 5: Performances allowed indoor and outdoors. Fuller indoor audiences allowed.

Where are we at in the government's 5-step plan?

As of 15 August, we are now on Step 4. Outdoor performances are permitted and so are indoor performances in which audiences are socially-distanced.

We don't know for sure when the government will begin Step 5. One thing we do know is that the government has said it will not make an announcement about when theatres can open without social distancing before November.

A lot will depend on how infection rates change when children across the country go back to school. If we see infection rates rise significantly in the autumn months, it is possible that the government will not allow Step 5 until well into 2021. But if infection rates remain stable they may be permitted in December or even November.

What are theatres doing?

Throughout August there have been a number of popular outdoor productions and some of these are continuing into September, including Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre and Pippin at the Garden Theatre in Vauxhall - and exciting immersive outdoor experiences like C-o-n-t-a-c-t and Squad Goals.

As the weather gets worse, you may prefer to take advantage of the socially-distanced indoor performances that are beginning to be scheduled over the autumn.

Even though the government is now permitting indoor shows with social distancing, not many theatres can afford to reopen if they're only allowed to sell a fraction of the normal number of tickets they need to make a production viable. So don't expect anything near the normal amount of theatre that would normally be on in London.

That said, there are already some exciting socially-distanced offerings and more will be announced over the coming weeks.

Southwark Playhouse has brought back its brilliant production of the cult musical The Last Five Years, the Bridge Theatre has announced a season of monologues starring big names like Ralph Fiennes.

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