No update on Stage Five reopening date for theatres expected until November

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden deals a blow to hopes of reopening as social distancing expected to remain for at least a further three months.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

Oliver Dowden, the UK’s Culture Secretary, revealed that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that no date would be given for full reopening of UK theatres before November “at the earliest.” Speaking on BBC Radio 4, his announcement has dealt a blow to theatre producers and owners who had been hoping for a reopening date to work towards.  

While not confirming what reopening date might be offered, Dowden said, “We will make the decision as rapidly as we can. But given where we are globally, and the risks around the world, this virus is far from defeated and I don't want to give people false hope.”

According to government guidelines, theatres will be permitted to hold indoor performances from 1 August, as long as social distancing is maintained for the audience, and cast and crew socially-distance wherever possible. This represents Stage Four of the road to reopening, with Stage Five, the final stage, allowing for the removal of social distancing.

Stage Four is expected to see some West End shows reopen, although currently only The Mousetrap has announced its plans.

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