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London theatre industry celebrates reopening with #BackOnStage campaign

First Published 16 May 2021, Last Updated 17 May 2021

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the theatre industry, with the cultural heart of London closed for over a year. In line with the government roadmap, theatres will be allowed to reopen from 17 May with social distancing – and from 21 June, shows will be able to perform to full audiences.

To herald theatre’s return, Society of London Theatre (SOLT) – the not-for-profit organisation which runs Official London Theatre – has launched an industry-wide Outdoor advertising campaign celebrating theatres reopening with Global, the Media and Entertainment group. This forms part of SOLT’s #BackOnStage campaign, launching today.

More than 40 London shows and theatres reopening over the summer and early autumn will be showcased across Global’s advertising sites throughout zones 1 – 2 on the London Underground.

The advertising campaign will also feature poignant images captured from theatre wings, showing the unique sense of anticipation and excitement that a live show brings. The image used on the escalator panels is a photograph by Matt Humphrey from his Curtain Call series.

As part of #BackOnStage, SOLT is also asking shows, venues and theatre fans across the country to use the hashtag and share the magical moments from their first post-lockdown live theatre experience.

Emma De Souza, our Head of Marketing and Communications for SOLT, said: “Theatres cannot reopen without audiences, and the industry is hugely grateful for theatre lovers who are buying tickets in advance for their favourite West End shows. As each stage of the roadmap is met and audience confidence grows. We’re thrilled to launch this campaign which has been a true collaboration with the marketing and advertising industry to celebrate the reopening of our theatres.”

Ollie Deane, Director of Commercial Outdoor & DAX at Global, said: “Before the pandemic, Outdoor was a vital part of marketing campaigns for many productions, with show posters a regular sight on the London Underground and buses. We are delighted to see the theatre industry return and to work with The Society of London Theatre as they aid the sector’s recovery.”

Vernon Everitt, Managing Director, Customers, Communication and Technology, at Transport for London, said: “London is one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world, not least when it comes to the fantastic range of theatre shows it has to offer. Theatres and the creative arts will play a huge role in London’s recovery along with the new ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign and, with near-normal levels of service on the public transport network and quieter journeys after 6pm, it’s a great time for people to go to the theatre and experience London’s fantastic shows again.”

Last week, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, launched his new ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign, bringing together partners from across the arts, hospitality and leisure to encourage Londoners and domestic visitors back into central London and promote the capital’s cultural offering. The theatre industry is a huge part of this, with SOLT backing the campaign alongside other theatre organisations including the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe.

The #BackOnStage campaign will be underpinned by the industry-wide See It Safely mark, displayed by theatres to assure audiences they are Covid-secure and operating in line with the latest Government guidance for live arts events.

To encourage theatre fans to book, our ‘Book with Confidence, Exchange with Ease’ pledge offers unprecedented flexibility, allowing ticketholders to exchange their tickets up to 24 hours before a performance if they are unable to attend due to Covid.

To coincide with the #BackOnStage campaign, SOLT’s world-famous, trusted Leicester Square ticket booth TKTS will be launching online on 17 May, so you can purchase on-the-day tickets for shows as they reopen even whilst the physical booth remains closed.

Theatre is nothing without its audiences and we’re so excited to welcome you back this week. Please join us in celebrating the shows returning #BackOnStage by booking tickets to see a new or returning show and give yourself something to look forward to. We’ve put together a list of shows opening from 17 May with social distancing and those planning on opening post-21 June at full capacity. Check it out below!

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