Andrew Lloyd Webber says West End theatres will open next summer

Roisin O'Connor
·2-min read
Andrew Lloyd Webber owns seven theatres in London’s West End (Rex Features)
Andrew Lloyd Webber owns seven theatres in London’s West End (Rex Features)

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber has said he expects that theatres will be able to reopen in summer 2021, following the roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The theatre veteran announced that the majority of his own West End theatres will reopen next year, after being forced to close because of the pandemic.

He said that previews of his new musical, Cinderella, will begin on 30 April at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in the West End, while a musical adaptation of the hit Disney film Frozen will open at the recently refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The Phantom of the Opera will return at Her Majesty’s Theatre in June, around the same time that a musical adaptation of Back to the Future will be performed at the Adelphi.

Tim Minchin’s collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company on the musical Matilda will return to the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden in late spring.

“I have been working ceaselessly throughout the year to get theatre back, and these are the first dates that I feel confident that we will be able to reopen to full capacity,” Lord Lloyd Webber said.

“Having been on the Oxford Covid vaccine trial myself, I am hugely optimistic that once the vaccine rolls out, audiences will return to theatre in droves.

“My theatres will be ready for them. I am raring to go.”

Theatre is among the worst-hit sectors of the pandemic, along with music and film.

Under tier 3 restrictions, all indoor entertainment venues must stay closed.

West End musical The Phantom of the Opera will reopen in 2021, Andrew Lloyd Webber saysRex Features
West End musical The Phantom of the Opera will reopen in 2021, Andrew Lloyd Webber saysRex Features

Venues in tier 2 regions have been allowed to reopen at a reduced capacity – however, many owners have said it is not viable to reopen with social distancing measures in place.

This week, musician Damon Albarn accused the government of having zero empathy towards the arts during the pandemic.

“We live in a pretty f****** miserable country at times and we need our arts to uplift us. It should be part of the prescription for our national health,” he said.

“Maybe a little less emphasis on the Premier League just running and a bit more love given to the arts would be a start because, I'm sorry, I love football as much as anybody else but football alone does not sustain my soul.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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