LONDON — Some of London’s biggest West End shows, including “Hamilton” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” won’t reopen until next year, producers announced Wednesday, as arts bodies warned that Britain faces a “cultural catastrophe” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh, his producing partners and his Delfont Mackintosh Theatres group said “Hamilton,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” Mary Poppins” and “Les Miserables,” would return “as early as practical in 2021.”
The company said it was talking to staff about “potential redundancies.”
Mackintosh, one of Britain’s biggest and wealthiest
He said the government’s “inability to say when the impossible constraints of social distancing will be lifted makes it equally impossible for us to properly plan for whatever the new future is.”
Shops and outdoor spaces such as zoos are now starting to reopen, but indoor venues remain closed because of social distancing rules that require people to remain two meters (6
The government says it's reviewing the distance rule amid pressure from retailers, restaurateurs and others to cut it to one meter (three feet).
The government has penciled in a July 4 re-opening date for pubs and restaurants, but Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden acknowledged that “it is going to be exceptionally difficult" for
Dowden said at a news conference that he planned to gather representatives from
A study released Wednesday by research firm Oxford Economics projected that the U.K.’s creative industries could lose 74 billion pounds ($93 million) in revenue this year and a fifth of the U.K.’s 2 million creative-sector jobs could disappear.
Chief executive Caroline Norbury of the Creative Industries Federation, which lobbies for arts and culture, said that “without additional government support, we are heading for a cultural catastrophe.”
“Thousands of world-leading creative businesses are set to close their doors, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost and billions will be lost to our economy," she said.
Norbury and other culture-sector leaders called on the government to set up a “cultural renewal fund” and continue support programs that have supported self-employed people and furloughed workers during the lockdown. The Treasury plans to scale back the programs in the next few months.
A letter to the government signed by almost 100
“The pandemic has brought
Dowden said the government was looking at “what further support we can give” to the arts.
"I know how essential our
Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
Jill Lawless, The Associated Press