Theatres to stay open during official mourning period; theatre lights to be dimmed at 7pm each night of the National mourning period
The trade body for London theatres, the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), and the UK Theatre trade body, have issued a joint statement following the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 8 September 2022.
The statement reads:
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The theatre industry is thankful for all the support and patronage Her Majesty has shown throughout her lifetime. We would like to convey our deepest sympathy to the Royal Family at this time of national mourning.”
-Stephanie Sirr MBE & Jon Gilchrist Joint Presidents, UK Theatre and Eleanor Lloyd, President, Society of London Theatre
The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre have confirmed that, in accordance with guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), scheduled theatre performances will go ahead tonight, Thursday, as planned and during the official period of mourning.
SOLT also said that many theatres across the country will be dimming their lights tonight and observing a minute’s silence, playing the national anthem, and opening books of condolences prior to the performance as a mark of their respect.
News is coming in that a few theatres have closed today and plan to close tomorrow, including the Riverside Studios. There is no news on any West End Theatres that have closed. The RSC has announced that performances and events on the day of the funeral will be cancelled.
Theatre producer and London theatre owner Cameron Mackintosh also confirmed that theatres were remaining open. As part of a longer statement, he said: “What finer demonstration of Her Majesty’s show-must-go-on attitude than the Royal Household’s wish that everyday life must continue as we all mourn Her passing and marvel at Her wonderful and magnificent life. God bless Her.”
Andrew Loyd Webber, composer, producer and London theatre owner, said in a statement: “For the whole of my life, the Queen has been the constant anchor of not just Britain and her beloved Commonwealth, but an inspiration to the world for her lifetime of service. Her legacy will be remembered as a selfless beacon for love, understanding and the celebration of fellow human beings all over the world, no matter their race or creed. Madeleine and I are deeply saddened by this news, and our thoughts and prayers are with Her Majesty The Queen’s family.”
Updates to this article:
London theatres have started to confirm on Friday (9 September 2022) that performances will continue to go ahead. One of the London’s Royal theatres, the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London, said that, “In accordance with the wishes of the royal household, performances will be going ahead.”
Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, which own the Novello, Noel Coward, Gielgud, Wyndham’s, Victoria Palace, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales and Sondheim theatres, said in a statement that, “there are currently no amendments to our performance schedules.”
DCMS has also issued official guidance on 9 September 2022, titled “The demise of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: National Mourning Guidance”. Regarding live events, the guidance says: “There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period. This is at the discretion of individual organisations. As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral. They are under no obligation to do so and this is entirely at the discretion of individual organisations.”
The Society of London Theatre has issued a further statement on 9 September, stating that West End Theatres and theatres across the UK will dim their lights every night of the National mourning period at 7pm.
The statement says: “Following the sad news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in accordance with official guidance, the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre have advised that theatres are expected to remain open from tonight and for the duration of the period of national mourning up until the funeral. Theatres across the country will be dimming their lights at 7pm for 2 minutes each evening as a mark of respect, which is theatre’s traditional way to honour those that have passed. The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre will be issuing further updates in line with official guidance once timings and details of the funeral have been confirmed, and audiences will be kept informed. We would like to extend our condolences to the Royal Family at this sad time.”
Updated: 9 September 2022, 11:54am