Broadway theatres will not be reopening in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced.
New York industry trade association The Broadway League confirmed that all 41 venues will remain closed until the end of 2020, as theatre bosses struggle to conceive of a feasible way to make theatres comply with social distancing rules.
Broadway performances will remain suspended until January 3, 2021 at the earliest, as work continues “with city and state officials as well as leaders in science, technology, and medicine to formulate the best plan to restart the industry”.
‘We’ll be back’: Broadway theatres will remain shuttered until 2021.
Broadway League board chair Thomas Schumacher said: “The Broadway experience can be deeply personal but it is also, crucially, communal.
“The alchemy of 1000 strangers bonding into a single audience fuelling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses.
“Every single member of our community is eager to get back to work sharing stories that inspire our audience through the transformative power of a shared live experience.
“The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so. One thing is for sure, when we return we will be stronger and more needed than ever.”
Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin added: “We are focused on identifying and implementing necessary measures that will enable us to resume performances safely for Broadway audiences and employees.
“We are determined to bring back the people who rely on this industry for their livelihood, and to welcome back all those who love this vital part of New York City, as soon as it is safe to do so.
“As so many of us in the Broadway community have been saying during this time, we’ll be back, and we have so many more stories to tell.”
West End shows to test temperature checks and drive-in performances amid battle to re-open.
The approach taken on Broadway is different to that on London’s West End, where Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced hopes to test live performances this year using thermal imaging cameras to run temperature checks.
The composer told the BBC earlier this month: “What I hope to do is to demonstrate what has happened in South Korea at the London Palladium… we’ve just had the final piece of equipment delivered and it’s just clearing customs. Then we’re going to do a series of tests to see if it’s going to work.
“The reason that we’ve chosen the Palladium is that it’s a very big theatre, just under 2,300 seats. It’s the biggest theatre we have and in one way the most problematic. We want to be able to demonstrate there that this can work.
“All we can do is continue to be positive and demonstrate we can open. If we do that and we fail, then at least we’ve tried.”
Meanwhile, West End concert musical Six is planning to hold distanced drive-in performances across the UK.
All West End theatres will remain closed until at least August 2, with a “roadmap” published by UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden not including firm dates for when theatres may be allowed to resume.
Dowden said: “I desperately want to raise the curtain on live performances in theatres and music venues as soon we can — they are the soul of our nation and a lynchpin of our world-beating creative industries.
“We know the challenges — theatres must be full to make money, and performers need to be safe on stage as they sing, dance and play instruments — but I am determined to ensure the performing arts do not stay closed longer than is absolutely necessary to protect public health.”
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