Theatres can reopen from 17 May, says Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Step three of the Coronavirus roadmap will begin next Monday, 17 May.
Theatres have been given the green light to reopen from 17 May, as stated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a government briefing.
17 May has been an important date in the theatre calendar for months, as stated in initial plans. But it has now been confirmed that lockdown can be eased and England will enter step three of the Coronavirus roadmap.
In today's press conference, Johnson said: "[vaccine] efforts have so visibly paid off... because of your efforts that I can confirm today that we have met four tests for further easing of lockdown in England. The data now supports moving to step three from next Monday, 17 May.
We'll reopen the doors to our theatres, concert halls and business conference centres... We'll unlock the turnstiles of our stadia. Everyone will be able to travel within Britain and stay overnight.
This unlocking is a considerable step to normality and I am confident we will be able to go further. We reamin on track to move to step four on 21 June."
From 17 May, socially distanced performances will be allowed to take place. Theatres will open with a reduced capacity, with audience members advised to wear face coverings and have their temperature checked.
Some West End theatres will be opening as early as 17 May, including St. Martin’s Theatre with The Mousetrap. Other openings include Les Miserables: The Staged Concert, Death Drop and Walden which is pictured in rehearsals above.
The Society of Official London Theatre and UK Theatre Chief Executive Julian Bird has issued the following statement. He said: ‘Today’s confirmation that Step 3 of the Government roadmap will go ahead on 17 May is very good news, allowing England’s theatre industry to begin the process of reopening. A number of theatres will be welcoming audiences back to socially distanced performances while also creating work for our world leading workforce. Theatres will be following our industry wide See it Safely protocols to ensure a consistency of customer experience and that the latest government Covid guidelines are being followed.
‘We are optimistic that this announcement paves the way for a full reopening from 21 June, and it is hugely encouraging to see audience confidence growing, reflected in increasing ticket sales."
Further details on step four of the Coronavirus roadmap, which is currently scheduled from as early as 21 June, will be announced next month.
Photo credit: Walden cast in rehearsals (Photo by Johan Persson)