Theatres and cinemas not included in 10pm closing time rule – Culture Secretary

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden departs 10 Downing Street, in Westminster, London.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden departs 10 Downing Street, in Westminster, London.

The new 10pm closing time rule will not apply to theatres and cinemas, the Culture Secretary has said.

From Thursday hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses will all have to close between 10pm and 5am as part of tightening measures in the face of rising coronavirus infections after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the UK has reached a “perilous turning point” in its fight against the disease.

However, theatres and cinemas will not be included in the new restrictions.

Oliver Dowden wrote on Twitter: “10pm closing time This will apply across a range of hospitality and leisure sectors including casinos.

“It will not apply to theatres and cinemas where performances may run over the 10pm deadline.”

Only a small number of theatres have been able to reopen because of the financial implications of social distancing.

This includes the musical Sleepless, starring Kimberley Walsh and Jay McGuiness at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre and Talking Heads by Alan Bennett at the Bridge Theatre, which are both running with socially distanced audiences.

Other shows are also poised to reopen soon, with Six, a show about the six wives of Henry VIII, due to become the first musical to resume performances in a West End theatre.

It will temporarily move from the Arts Theatre to the Lyric on Shaftesbury Avenue for an 11-week run with social distancing from November 14.

The Royal Court has also announced it will reopen its doors on November 12 with a new socially distanced live performance.

It was previously announced that Nimax Theatres plans to reopen all six of its West End venues from October onwards for a season of socially distanced shows.

The company’s venues, which include the Apollo, Palace and Vaudeville theatres, will host reduced audience numbers and therefore run at a loss.

Comedian and former junior doctor Adam Kay will launch the series with his This Is Going To Hurt show at the Apollo, from October 22 to November 8.

Other theatres, including the Old Vic, have said they will not be able to reopen until social distancing is no longer required because of the financial implications of limiting capacity.

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