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The British government announced on Friday that theaters can reopen for indoor shows on August 1, providing a ray of hope for a live performance industry that is currently on its knees.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said: “We will restart indoor performances to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots, and we will also pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadia with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn.”
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In a tweet, culture secretary Oliver Dowden added:
From 1 August socially distanced audiences can return for indoor performances in theatres, music halls and other venues. This builds on pilots with @londonsymphony and others. So pleased to make progress to Stage 4 of our road map for culture. pic.twitter.com/Js7dQUghZ6
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) July 17, 2020
Musical impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber has been among those working on pilots, putting in place safety measures at The London Palladium. Dowden visited the theater earlier this month to examine progress and was impressed by the “comprehensive safety measures.”
News of the theatre reopenings follows the government’s unprecedented £1.57BN ($2BN) rescue package for the country’s arts and culture venues, including independent cinemas and theaters.