Cinderella began performances last month with an audience capacity of 50 per cent, and had been set to open its doors to a full house this week, in conjunction with the easing of lockdown restrictions today (19 July).
The long-awaited stage show had been set to debut at London’s Gillian Lynne Theatre on Tuesday (20 July), with a preview performance taking place the night before.
However, in a statement, Lloyd Webber said that the opening night would not be going forward.
“Today, on this ‘Freedom Day’, I have been forced to take the heart-breaking decision not to open my Cinderella,” he wrote. “At Cinderella, from the outset, we have employed a rigorous testing system for all the cast and backstage crew before they begin work. On Saturday, as part of this process, we identified one positive case in a member of our cast who has a cameo role in the show.
“As a precautionary measure, we cancelled two shows on Saturday while we carried out further tests on everyone backstage, which were negative. Any of those who were identified as a close contact of the positive case were given additional PCR tests. These tests too were negative. This morning we carried out additional tests on those due to perform tonight. Every one of them was negative.”
The statement continued: “Despite this, the impossible conditions created by the blunt instrument that is the Government’s isolation guidance, mean that we cannot continue. We have been forced into a devastating decision which will affect the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of people and disappoint the thousands who have booked to see the show.
“Cinderella was ready to go,” added the composer. “My sadness for our cast and crew, our loyal audience and the industry I have been fighting for is impossible to put into words. Freedom Day has turned into closure day.”
A new opening night date has not yet been announced.