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Government confirms indoor theatre performances can begin from 15 August

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 14 August 2020, Last Updated 17 August 2020

Last night, the government announced that indoor performances with social distancing can take place as of Saturday 15 August.

While outdoor performances with socially distanced audiences were permitted from 11 July, restrictions for indoor theatre were due to be eased on 1 August and later paused for 2 weeks following the spike in Coronavirus cases.

In response to the new announcement, Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre said: “We are delighted that from Saturday the government has announced that stage 4 of the roadmap can proceed and allow the opening of indoor performances with social distancing – this is a step further to full reopening and will help those theatres who have already made innovative plans to open.  Theatre wants to take its place alongside restaurants, galleries, museums and cinemas in being a major contributor to the economic and social recovery of the nation, as well as entertaining our audiences and supporting our local communities.”

Theatres across the country can now begin to make plans for reopening, with many well on the way:

A limited run of Sleepless: A Musical Romance will be opening at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre from 25 August – 27 September. The spacious venue means that social distancing measures can be strictly adhered to at all times. Audiences will be temperature checked upon entering the building and will be required to wear face maks, while food and beverages can be ordered using a contactless method, and hand sanitiser will be available at various stations across the venue.

The London Theatre Company also announced this week that the Bridge Theatre will be reopening during September and October with a run of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologue, following the television broadcast in June. The impressive line up of stars includes Monica Dolan, Tamsin Greig, Lesley Manville, Lucian Msamati, Maxine Peake, Rochenda Sandall, Kristin Scott Thomas and Imelda Staunton. In addition, there will be three new monologues, two of which will be played by their authors. 

Jason Robert Brown’s Drama Desk Award-winning musical, The Last Five Years, will be returning to the Southwark Playhouse from 1- 31 October in the Large Space, with added perspex and a socially distanced audience. The iconic musical romance will be returning with the actors onstage at all times and playing the piano to add a new narrative dimension to the story, accompanied by a full four-piece band. Full information on casting and social distancing measures around the actors performing in the production will be announced in the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled!

The National Theatre has today announced that it will resume with socially distanced performances in late October with a new one-person play, Death Of England: Delroy by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams. Performed by Giles Terera, the play follows on from Dyer and Williams’ play Death of England, which Dyer also directed, and which was performed by Rafe Spall to critical acclaim in the Dorfman Theatre, closing only weeks before lockdown.

We are certain there will be more exciting openings, so please stay tuned and we will keep you posted as soon as we receive more announcements. In the meantime, check out our running list of upcoming and rescheduled West End shows, here.



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We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.