With the UK government having to be vague about the time frame and ways in which the current lockdown will be lifted pretty much every industry is unable to make plans and the theatre industry is no exception. At present we have no news beyond the Society of London Theatre’s blanket announcement that the West End will remain closed until “at least” 31 May.
Beyond that the producers of individual West End shows have made no announcements about performances recommencing. But there are exceptions.
For instance, we know that HAIRSPRAY will now begin performances on 1 September. IDENTICAL – The new musical by Stiles and Drew has been pushed to next year and that GREENWICH AND DOCKLANDS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL will now take place from 28 August to 12 September. Regent's Park Open Air Theatre's 101 DALMATIANS musical will now run in 2021.
But usually the only concrete information we get is news of projects and productions that won’t be returning. For instance The Turbine Theatre and West End musicals WAITRESS and THRILLER LIVE will not be reopening but they were coming to the end of their natural lives anyway. Happily London Theatre Direct report "Rumours that Pretty Woman musical cancelled its West End run due to COVID-19 are false. The show will still go on and is expected to continue running at the Piccadilly Theatre until at least early 2021 or longer.
Definitely cancelled however is EVITA at the Barbican, all shows in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre, ENDGAME starring Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming at the Old Vic, Opera Holland Park’s summer season, Sasha Regan's HMS PINAFORE at Wilton’s Music, the GOING GLOBAL season at BAC, IOLANTHE at the Kings Head Theatre, AFTERPLAY, HOW IT IS and THE ITALIAN THEATRE FESTIVAL at the Cornet Theatre. There will be no performances of TRAINERS & OMEROS at the Gate Theatre, PASS OVER at the Kiln Theatre, NOT QUITE JERUSALEM at The Finborough and all remaining performances of NORA: A DOLL'S HOUSE at the young Vic have been pulled. UNCLE VANYA starring Toby Jones won’t be immediately returning to the Harold Pinter Theatre but producers hope to reschedule.
Venues announcing that they’re “closed until further notice” with the resulting postponement of their shows “for the foreseeable future” include the Theatre Royal Stratford East, Donmar Warehouse, Boulevard Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, The Arcola Theatre, The South Bank Centre, Saddler’s Wells, The Royal Opera House, The Old Vic, the Bush Theatre, the Soho Theatre, The Royal Court and the Kiln.
A few Off West End and Government subsidised venues are being a little clearer and setting out, at least what they’re hoping to do. Reopening on June 30th is the current plan for Southwark Playhouse, The National Theatre, The RSC & Immersive LND’s THE GREAT GATSBY whilst the Menier Chocolate Factory hopes to reopen its current show INDECENT in mid-May. Regent's Park Open Air Theatre will now open its 2020 season with ROMEO AND JULIET at the end of June. The autumn season of shows at the Rose Theatre in Kingston is currently scheduled to run as planned, including SIX, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and the Christmas production of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.
All the venues mentioned in this article are asking for donations of the price of any already purchased tickets to help support their future.