Theatre fans are rejoicing as theatres across Yorkshire are beginning to open their doors to the public after they were forced to close last March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Performances are re-starting all over the country with London’s West End lighting up once again. Shows including Les Misérables: The Staged Concert, Heathers: The Musical, and The Play That Goes Wrong are already hitting the stage.
Government pilot scheme fails to support live events
Unfortunately, the government’s bid to open up the country on 21 June had to be pushed back. This meant that theatres could not re-open with a full capacity audience, despite complaints about why sports events like Wimbledon and the Euros are allowed to take place with mostly full audiences (as part of the government’s controversial pilot scheme – the events and research programme).
Theatre owners who have struggled financially through the pandemic are worried about the prospects of the delayed date as many will not be able to make a profit without a full audience. Even though they are allowed to re-open at a reduced capacity, many have chosen not to due to these fears.
Musical theatre legend Andrew Lloyd Webber has previously said that he was determined to open his new, original musical at full capacity on 21 June even at the risk of being arrested. However, the world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella was held on 25 June at a reduced capacity. Lloyd Webber was offered to open Cinderella at full capacity as part of the government’s pilot programme but declined in solidarity with other theatres.
He is taking legal action against the government’s delay to live events, including the setback to full capacity theatre performances.
Theatres in the pandemic
Until at least 19 July, theatres across the UK must obey the government’s capacity limit, which equates to either 1,000 audience members or 50 percent of the full capacity, whichever is the lowest volume.
Those who have re-opened all have secure covid-safety measures in place, including compulsory mask wearing indoors, social distancing, and one-way systems. This ensures that everybody feels safe, protected, and comfortable returning to the theatre.
A number of Yorkshire theatres have already opened their doors. Here is a selection of shows you can watch in July.
You can check out this Leeds Grand theatre Twitter thread for all the information you will need about watching a performance at Leeds Grand Theatre in the current climate. Or visit their website where you will find details of lots more shows, including Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
You can check out the list of future events at York Theatre Royal here.
You can find the list of future events across Sheffield Theatres here.
Support our Yorkshire theatres
Hopefully, 19 July will see the return of full capacity audiences. The return of live theatre performances is so important to the economy, to our collective wellbeing (especially those in the creative industries), as well as for the enjoyment of theatre-goers across the country.
If you feel comfortable visiting the theatre, there are plenty of amazing shows on offer that will grant you a return to a sense of normality in what has been a challenging 15 months.