The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK theatre members have announced that all their venues will close with immediate effect following the UK Government’s press conference earlier today.
The statement said:
“Following official government advice issued today (Monday 16 March), which stipulates that people should avoid public buildings including theatres, it has been announced that SOLT and UK Theatre member venues will be closed from tonight, to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
The theatres will remain closed until further notice and will re-open as soon as possible, following government recommendations.
Audience members for a show that has been cancelled will be contacted by their ticket providers and are entitled to a refund. Ticketholders are asked to bear in mind that customer service teams are currently extremely busy.
Julian Bird, Chief Executive of SOLT and UK Theatre, said:
‘We are extremely grateful to all of our audiences who have continued to support us for as long as they can, and to theatre staff across the country who have worked so hard in recent weeks to ensure the safety and enjoyment of audiences. Closing venues is not a decision that is taken lightly, and we know that this will have a severe impact on many of the 290,000 individuals working in our industry. In these uncertain times, SOLT and UK Theatre remain committed to helping provide vital support for those in need, and hope we are able to welcome audiences back to our theatres before too long.’
Many theatres that have been forced to cancel performances are charitable enterprises, and while ticketholders are all entitled to a refund for cancelled performances, those who can afford to do so are encouraged to donate the cost of their ticket to show support for the theatre industry.
Over the coming weeks, SOLT and UK Theatre will continue provide updates to the industry and the public as the situation changes, sharing current government and NHS advice.
In response to the escalating health crisis, a growing list of UK theatres had already begun to cancel and postpone productions including the Old Vic, Young Vic, Royal Court Theatre, Royal Opera House, Arcola Theatre and Bush Theatre.
The National Theatre also announced it will remain closed for the next 4-weeks.