Actor Liz Carr has urged theatres to consider 'Covid-safer performances' in order to allow vulnerable people to enjoy live shows.
The Silent Witness star, who has used a wheelchair since the age of seven, told the BBC: "I think theatres could think about having safer performances. I think they should have facemask performances that are more socially distanced.
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"In the same way you might have a British sign language performance, I think you should have Covid-safer performances."
Carr was celebrating winning Best Supporting Actress at the 2022 Olivier Awards for her role in AIDS crisis drama The Normal Heart, when she made the suggestion.
The legal requirement for people to wear face coverings indoors in England lifted in March this year as Covid restrictions began to be phased out in the UK. And despite appearing on stage in The Normal Heart with live audiences, Carr says attending the Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall was a daunting experience for her.
"I was on stage with everybody who was testing, everybody in the cast tested every day," Carr explained to the BBC, "so I felt safer than being a random member of the public in an audience around people I didn't know."
Carr has a condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC) which affects joints and restricts movement. The Office For National Statistics (ONS) says that 3.7 million people in England had been identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus as of October 2021.
Accepting her award, Carr said: "There are so many fears about the risk of employing disabled actors, well I think this proves we can do it, we can project, we can fill a stage."
The This is Going To Hurt actor added that many of her friends didn't feel safe enough to come see her in The Normal Heart due to the lifting of face mask restrictions, and suggested theatres could offer lower capacity shows with mandatory face coverings 'to make sure theatre remains accessible even to those of us who have health conditions.'
West End musical Cabaret proved to be the hot ticket at the Olivier Awards as the show scooped seven gongs, including plaudits for stars Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley.
The revival of the hit show, which transformed the West End’s Playhouse Theatre into the Kit Kat Club, picked up seven of the 11 prizes it was nominated for.
It was named best musical revival while Redmayne won best actor in a musical for his portrayal of Emcee, the flamboyant master of ceremonies, and Buckley won best actress in a musical for her turn as Sally Bowles.
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