Coronavirus: Midlands theatre closures

Published: 17 March 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

Closed: the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford Credit: Peter Cook

Theatres in the Midlands are calling off shows in the light of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's speech telling people to stay away from public places.

All Royal Shakespeare Company venues including its theatres in Stratford along with venues that the company is performing at have closed. This will be for an undetermined period of time and will remain under review.

Nottingham’s Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall will be closed until Sunday 12 April. Venue director Peter Ireson said, “the health and well-being of our customers, visiting companies and staff is our top priority so, in light of the government’s latest advice, this was a tough but clear decision for us to make.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our audiences for their patience and understanding and to thank them for the many kind-hearted messages of support we’ve received over recent days.

“I’m also extremely grateful for the extraordinary level of commitment shown by our dedicated team of staff throughout this very challenging period.

“Over the coming weeks we’ll continue to closely follow Public Health England’s and the government’s recommendations, and hope to be able to welcome audiences back to both our venues in the near future.”

Cancelled performances include performances by Opera North, Mamma Mia, Six the Musical, Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced and Once the Musical.

Nottingham Playhouse cancelled performances of Debris Stevenson’s Poet in da Corner which should have taken place from Thursday until Saturday this week and said it was "very sad" to announce that Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, scheduled to play from Friday 27 March until Saturday 11 April, had been deferred "for the time being".

Birmingham Hippodrome has cancelled all performances of The Book of Mormon which was due to run until 28 March. The theatre is in discussion with producers about performances from 29 March onwards.

Still in Birmingham, the REP said it was "sad to announce that all productions opening in March and April will no longer be happening as planned. All off-stage projects have also been suspended for this period. For shows and projects later in our spring and summer season, we are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to review our policy in line with official guidelines as they develop. Our autumn and winter season is currently not affected."

Leicester’s Curve theatre has closed until Monday 4 May. Performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera along with What’s in a Name?, Jeremy Sams’s adaptation of Matthew Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière's French film Le Prènom, have been called off. The theatre says it has also made the "difficult" decision to postpone the production of the musical Roman Holiday, which features song by Cole Porter, until 2021.

Malvern Theatres have closed temporarily for the first time in more than two decades. Coventry’s Belgrade has closed, as has Mansfield Palace Theatre. Lichfield Garrick has called off shows for the remainder of March.

Derby Theatre has cancelled performances of Crongton Knights, the stage adaptation of Alex Wheatle’s novel, which should have been running all this week.

Arts venue MAC Birmingham has initially closed until Monday 6 April and will continue to monitor the situation to determine when it will re-open.

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