Andrew Lloyd Webber announces London Palladium to be used for Covid-19 safety trials
Hygiene, thermal imaging cameras, and face masks could be the key to getting theatres open again
Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced that the historic London Palladium will be the site of a series of trials in July, testing safety measures designed to demonstrate theatre's ability to reopen following the extended Covid-19 closure. The trials will use methods successfully employed in South Korea for his touring production of The Phantom of the Opera.
The South Korean model sees audiences attending with face masks and applying hand sanitiser - while backstage, thermal image cameras check cast and crew temperatures at stage door, and a high level of hygiene is maintained in all areas. These measures have allowed that production to reopen to audiences without need for social distancing, and the hope is that the tests could enable the adoption of similar protocols in the UK.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Lloyd Webber said, "I really believe that we in theatre must be positive and use everything we can to demonstrate we can open. If having done that we fail, at least we've tried."
The London Palladium is one of the West End's largest theatres, and has been owned by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group since 2000. In addition to hosting successful runs of many major musicals including Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Cats, it is also the home of variety including an annual pantomime and the Royal Variety Performance.
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