The Society of London Theatre (SOLT), the industry body that represents West End theaters, has confirmed that London’s world-renowned theater district will remain closed until June due to the coronavirus crisis.
“We are now canceling all performances up until and including May 31, 2020, to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen,” said SOLT in a statement Monday morning.
The organization has said theater box office and ticket agent teams are currently working through “the very high number of ticket orders affected by the cancellations” and encouraged patience from ticket holders. Around 300,000 people attend West End theaters per week, said SOLT.
The update from SOLT follows Ambassador Theatre Group’s (ATG) announcement Friday that all its theaters will remain closed through May, in line with Delfont Mackintosh, which released a similar update Monday morning.
In a statement confirming cancellations, the latter theater operator noted, “We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times, you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for.”
Delfont Mackintosh theaters span eight venues in London, including the Gielgud, Noël Coward, Novello, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, Sondheim (formally Queen’s), Victoria Palace and Wyndham’s. Current shows include “Hamilton,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Mary Poppins” and “Leopoldstadt.”
The London venues impacted by the ATG closure include: Apollo Victoria Theatre, Ambassadors Theatre, Lyceum Theatre and Savoy Theatre. The shows affected include “The Lion King,” “9 to 5 The Musical,” “Pretty Woman,” “The Woman In Black” and “Wicked.”
West End shows had previously been postponed through to April 26, but as the U.K.’s battle against the COVID-19 outbreak has worsened, it’s become clear that the West End has little chance of opening doors anytime soon. Currently, the country is grappling with close to 48,000 cases of coronavirus. Almost 5,000 have so far died from the virus.
The West End went dark on March 16, with close to 50 productions affected. However, theater is slowly adapting to the lockdown, with successful online initiatives so far staged by the National Theatre, as well as a YouTube channel of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals that went live with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” on Friday night, drawing more than one million views in 24 hours.