UK Government allows indoor performances from 1 August, pilot success dependent

Updated on 21 July 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in a press conference today that indoor performances may begin from 1 August as long as they are COVID secure and subject to the success of the pilots.

UK indoor performances can begin 1 August

Boris Johnson stated that indoor performances taking place from 1st August is conditional, “It is contingent on all of us staying alert and continued success on controlling the virus.” The success of pilots with performances to an indoor audience is vital, including pilots for indoor performances with larger audiences. If these pilots are successful there is hope that there can be a wider reopening in the autumn. The Prime Minister reiterated, “These changes have to be made in a COVID-secure way subject to pilots.” Pilots are already underway at venues such as the London Palladium.

What does the latest news mean for UK Theatre?

The Prime Minister has given the power to local authorities to shut down events if there is a rising rate in transmission. The return of indoor performances would take us to stage four of the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s reopening “plan”. However, even with indoor performances allowed, the conditions for reopening may not be economically viable for many theatres and venues. Companies will have to weigh up the financial aspects in the coming weeks to see if it is even feasible for them to reopen with COVID-secure social distancing measures in place.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has stated:

“The UK's performing arts sector is renowned across the world and I am pleased that we are making real progress in getting its doors reopened to the public with social distancing. From August indoor theatres, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country.

“This is a welcome step in the path to a return to normal and, coupled with our £1.57 billion rescue package, will help secure the future of this important sector.”

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By Jade Ali

A love for theatre stemmed from my love of literature and music, but the West End on my doorstep opened up a whole new appreciation and passion for all things stage-y