Of the many theatre casualties during the current pandemic, perhaps the saddest of all is Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera. The much loved show, which has graced London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre for 34 consecutive years, will close both its London production all also its touring production.
The news was announced by the show’s producer, Cameron Mackintosh, in a recent issue of the Evening Standard. “Andrew and I have had to sadly permanently shut down our London and U.K. touring productions of The Phantom of the Opera,” he said, “but (we) are determined to bring it back to London in the future.”
Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber was also keen to emphasise that the show would return. “As far as I’m concerned” he wrote on Twitter “Phantom will reopen as soon as is possible.”
Despite the government’s announcement that indoor performances could resume at theatres able to implement socially distancing, the onerous criterion placed on the sector means that for many venues, it is just not financially viable to return.
The move, part of the government’s road map for getting the arts and cultural sector up and running again, will require venues to operate at a reduced capacity, enforce social distancing on artists and visitors and schedule regular deep cleaning of auditoriums and all visitor areas.
In addition, singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments in groups or in front of an audience is not allowed under the current guidelines.
In light of the many challenges that venues currently face, many theatres have elected to cancel all performances in 2020 and to instead focus on getting themselves back up and running once social distancing is at an end.