Tier 3 or not Tier 3? That is the Question Being Asked By London’s Hard-Hit West End Shows

Tier 3 or not Tier 3? That is the Question Being Asked By Londons Hard-Hit West End Shows.

Some venues have barely reopened since the UK’s November national lockdown. The Apollo Theatre’s production of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie restarted on Saturday. A festive favourite, Pantoland at the Palladium, opened last night. Other shows though, scheduled to start this week, may not get the chance to run at all. A decision on whether the capital is plunged into tier three restrictions next week could be the last curtain call for many of London’s theatres.

Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, said: “Tier 3 just before Christmas really would be devastating. The activity underway would have to close and it costs a lot of money to get productions on their feet.”

The Publics appetite for live theatre appears undimmed by this autumn’s pandemic surge. When box offices reopened, Les Misérables sold 30,000 tickets in a day. However, while theatre owners such as Nica Burns, co-owner of Nimax, which has six London venues, say sales are “fantastic”, the financial health of shows is more precarious, with a maximum 50 per cent capacity under the new rules and no insurance cover against business interruption.  “We’re not viable at 50 per cent. I will lose money. But we’ll be earning a contribution to our costs,” said Ms Burns.

Yesterday, Dec. 12, a further 519 people had died within 28 days of a positive test, there were also 21,502 new cases reported across the UK. The rolling seven-day average of cases has been rising since 27 November.


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Tony Winterburn

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