The London productions of hit musicals Hamilton and The Lion King have announced further cancellations due to “ongoing Covid-enforced absences” in the cast and crew.
Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre in central London was due to resume after December 15th’s evening show was cancelled, but it has announced that both its Thursday matinee and evening performance “can no longer play as scheduled”.
An update posted to the show’s Twitter account said they will provide further information about scheduled shows from Friday December 17 “as soon as possible”.
— Hamilton West End (@HamiltonWestEnd) December 16, 2021
The musical’s American counterpart on Broadway in New York, has also been hit, with a cancellation just hours before curtain-up on Wednesday due to “breakthrough cases” of the virus.
The Lion King production in London’s West End was also due to return at the Lyceum Theatre after the December 14 and 15 dates were cancelled, but the Ambassador Theatre Group said in a statement that performances from December 16 will not go ahead and it could be December 21 before they can resume.
An update on Twitter said: “Due to ongoing Covid-enforced absences within our cast and crew, unfortunately performances of Disney’s The Lion King scheduled to take place between Thursday 16 December and Sunday 19 December can no longer play as scheduled.
IMPORTANT update for all customers with tickets to The Lion King in London from Thursday 16 December through to Sunday 19 December. We are contacting all customers. Thank you for your understanding. pic.twitter.com/yyiQy74BZI
— ATG (@ATGTICKETS) December 16, 2021
“We hope to resume performances on Tuesday 21 December at 2.30pm, and will provide further information as soon as possible.
“Guests affected by this change will be contacted by email in the coming days by their point of purchase, with information on how to exchange tickets into a new performance date, request a credit voucher, or to receive a refund.
“On behalf of everyone at Disney’s The Lion King we apologise for the disappointment and for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for your continued support.”
Several shows in the US and UK have had to shut temporarily due to surging coronavirus case numbers and the spread of the Omicron variant.
Regarding this evening’s performance: pic.twitter.com/T9cgrW6oYx
— Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club (@kitkatclubLDN) December 15, 2021
Two performances of Cabaret At The Kit Kat Club, featuring Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley and being staged at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End, were also cancelled on Wednesday.
Both the matinee and evening performances of the production did not go ahead, with a Twitter message for the evening show saying that “despite extremely robust measures being in place, a member of the backstage company tested positive for Covid-19 this morning”.
It added: “In order to complete testing on the wider company, we are sorry to have to cancel tonight’s performance of Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club. Your point of purchase will be in touch very shortly with alternative options.”
Life Of Pi, based on the Booker Prize-winning 2001 novel by Canadian author Yann Martel, scrapped five shows at Wyndham’s Theatre.
Producers said there had been “several cases of Covid in the company” despite “robust measures taken”.
Performances at the National Theatre of Hex, based on the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, were also cancelled until Thursday.
Meanwhile, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is cancelled until Friday at the Troubadour Theatre Wembley.
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Comedy Of Errors at the Barbican in London has also been halted, with the production hoping to restart on Thursday December 23.
Force Majeure at the Donmar Warehouse was cancelled until Friday following positive coronavirus cases in the cast.
An update on FORCE MAJEURE performances pic.twitter.com/2CcCW52dZK
— Donmar Warehouse (@DonmarWarehouse) December 14, 2021
Broadway shows hit by coronavirus issues include The Tina Turner Musical, which was forced to cancel both afternoon and evening performances on Wednesday due to “a limited number” of positive test results within the company.
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child in New York cancelled its Wednesday matinee but said the evening performance would still go ahead.
A message from the Broadway production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child regarding today’s matinee performance. pic.twitter.com/SYAdRGftti
— Harry Potter and the Cursed Child NYC (@CursedChildNYC) December 15, 2021
The festive period is crucial to theatres for income and reaching new audiences, especially so after most productions were cancelled or delayed in 2020.
This year theatres have been able to stage productions without restrictions on audience capacity.
Many venues have implemented the See It Safely scheme, from the Solt and UK Theatre bodies, which allows venues to display a special mark once they have signed up to a code of conduct and proved they are following the latest guidance.
Approved venues receive a toolkit including the mark, which can be displayed on venues and promotional material, an animated safety video, signage and further training.
Audiences now have to wear masks and show their Covid passport when attending theatre productions in the UK.