FAQ: Coronavirus, UK theatres, and the West End
| By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels
(Updated on Mar 23, 2020)
Will West End theatres be closed due to coronavirus?
As at the published date of this FAQ, it remains business as usual in the West End and the show must go on. Here’s what you need to know about if and how the current situation may affect your UK theatre experience.
UPDATED (23 March 2020): We can confirm that all shows have been suspended up to the 30th of April 2020.
Currently, the West End remains fully open with all performances running as scheduled. The government has not yet called for the closure of UK theatres nor have they placed a ban on public gatherings and cultural events.
UPDATED (17 March 2020): Most of the West End and SOLT/UK theatres have now closed until further notice. Find out more information on UK and London theatre closures due to COVID-19 here.
Are people still going to UK and West End shows amid the coronavirus?
Yes. People are still buying tickets and attending shows, including the press night of Back to the Future in Manchester. Currently, many shows have updated their pricing and many people are taking advantage of some great rates.
UPDATED (17 March 2020): Due to West End and UK theatre closures, people are no longer attending the theatre in March or April. It is possible that things will pick back up in May, but at the present time, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding when certain theatres will resume. Keep checking back on our news page for the latest information.
Is it safe to go to the theatre during the coronavirus outbreak?
The Society of London Theatre say it’s business as usual in the West End. It is recommended that you follow current NHS guidelines on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus.
UPDATED (17 March 2020): According to official UK government guidance, it is no longer recommended to go to the theatre and most if not all West End and UK theatres have closed. Scotland has also banned mass gatherings for up to 4 months, just before the anticipated Edinburgh Festival.
What has The Society of London Theatres (SOLT) and UK Theatre said about the coronavirus?
“SOLT and UK Theatre are in contact with the government to ensure we have the most up-to-date advice, which we are sharing regularly with members (both theatres and production companies) across the country. Official advice states that there is currently no clear rationale to cancel events or postpone most international travel, and the government encourages business as usual. We will continue to monitor the situation, plan for every eventuality and share government, NHS and Public Health England guidance with the theatre industry and our audiences.”
UPDATED (17 March 2020): "The safety of our audience and workforce is paramount to us as we navigate this challenging time. We, therefore, regret to announce that as of this evening all SOLT and UK Theatre member venues will close this evening (including tonight's performances) in light of the most recent official government advice. They will remain closed until further notice and will re-open as soon as possible, following government recommendations."
Can I get a refund on my West End theatre tickets due to coronavirus?
UPDATED (23 March 2020): We can confirm that all shows have been suspended up to the 30th of April 2020. Refunds will be actioned at a maximum of 14 days after your performance was supposed to take place.
Should a longer period of closure become clear, it may be possible for refunds for future performances to be provided without waiting until the event date.
Please follow us on Twitter to receive any updates.
Rest assured refunds will be processed in due time, but we ask for your patience and understanding.