London's West End theatres have announced their closure with immediate affect, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre explained that all of the capital's West End theatres have shut as of this evening (Monday 16 March). With them, some of the world's most popular stage shows, including Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and Wicked, are put on hold till further notice.
Tonight’s performance (16 March) of Wicked will not proceed and we expect to provide further clarification as soon as it is recieved from UK Government. pic.twitter.com/3Vdr6Vyapz— Wicked UK (@WickedUK) March 16, 2020
All West End theatres, say SOLT and UK Theatre, will re-open as soon as possible, in line with government recommendations.
Audience members for cancelled shows will be contacted by their ticket providers and are entitled to a refund, although those who are able to afford so are urged to donate the price of their ticket to support the theatre industry.
Julian Bird, Chief Executive of SOLT and UK Theatre, said:
We are extremely grateful to all of our audiences who have continued to support us for as long as they can, and to theatre staff across the country who have worked so hard in recent weeks to ensure the safety and enjoyment of audiences. Closing venues is not a decision that is taken lightly, and we know that this will have a severe impact on many of the 290,000 individuals working in our industry.
Earlier today, UK prime minister Boris Johnson urged members of the public to stay away from public spaces including theatres, although the government has stopped short of ordering their closure. Some have criticised this move as confusing, and unfair on the industry, because insurance will not apply to producers and shows.
A list of all SOLT and UK Theatre venues can be found here.
Read our coronavirus update from earlier today.