U.K. Theatres: Omicron Turns Off The Lights

U.K. Theatres Omicron

U.K. Theatres are silent as Andrew Lloyd Webber pauses “Cinderella” and other shows go dark.

As 90,000 people are testing positive for the Omicron variant in the U.K., the theatre industry is feeling the painful effects along with the rest of the country. 

Uber-composer Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that performances of his hit West End musical “Cinderella” would halt until Feb 2022. The hope being the dreaded Omicron variant will have run its course by then. 

Webber tweeted he was “…absolutely devastated that “Cinderella” has to temporarily close,” citing the need to keep the cast and crew safe while ensuring the quality of performances would not suffer. 

This closure is just one in a spate of cancelations in the wake of the omicron wave that has run roughshod over the country. Performances of the hit revival “Cabaret” starring Eddie Redmayne with Jessie Buckley were canceled last week. “Measure For Measure” at London’s Shakespeare’s Globe, “Hex” at the National Theatre, and “Wendy and Peter Pan” at the Leeds Playhouse are all suspended until January. Similar suspensions are being echoed in theatres everywhere. 

Government Steps In To Help U.K. Theatres Hit By Omicron

The government attempted to assuage the financial haemorrhaging with a further £30 million (almost $40 million USD) to its existing Cultural Recovery Fund, which targets U.K. theatre, museums, and orchestras.

The Society of London Theatre released a statement that said the measure was a “clear signal” the Boris Johnson government understood “the challenges facing our theatres and other cultural businesses. 

The statement continued: “Whilst the new funding is most welcome, it is now crucial that DCMS [Dept for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] works with the theatre sector to ensure it is targeted to those businesses and individuals that need it most.”

The Prime Minister himself has said there would be no new restrictions throughout Christmas, which will likely change immediately after the holidays are over. This policy might likely include closing theatres as well as cinemas. 

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