Olivier Awards Forge Ahead as U.K. Theaters Say ‘Currently No Clear Rationale’ to Cancel Shows

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (Music)Cats the
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British stage organizations The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and U.K. Theatre have advised there is currently no reason to cancel productions in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

SOLT organizes the annual Olivier Awards, the U.K.’s most prestigious theater awards ceremony, set to take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on April 5. The event is currently set to go ahead, Variety has confirmed.

In a statement, SOLT and U.K. Theatre said: “Official advice states there is currently no clear rationale to cancel events or postpone most international travel, and the government encourages business as usual.”

Both organizations said they are in contact with the government to ensure they have the most up-to-date advice, which they are sharing regularly with their theater and production company members.

“We will continue to monitor the situation, plan for every eventuality and share government, NHS and Public Health England guidance with the theater industry and our audiences.”

The guidance comes amid reports that a number of theater production companies behind some of the West End’s biggest hits are drawing up contingency plans, including streaming performances, if coronavirus does cause widespread disruption. London newspaper City A.M.reported that some producers are considering hosting a live stream of shows via platforms such as Facebook and Wirecast.

Last week, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced his new musical “Cinderella” will delay its West End opening until October, citing “current global circumstances.”

The show, which was due to open at the end of August, will now have its first preview at the Gillian Lynne Theatre on Oct. 9. Carrie Hope Fletcher will still star in the show.

“The show will go on sale next week as planned, but in the current global circumstances, the creative team and I feel that this later opening date is wise,” said Lloyd Webber. “Full scale pre-rehearsals of ‘Cinderella’ will take place with our leading actors, as planned, throughout this month.”

A widespread coronavirus outbreak would likely have a severe impact on business for London and regional theaters. Neighbouring France has already banned events that house more than 1,000 people.

Last week, the Broadway League, which represents the Broadway industry, shared in a statement that it is also closely monitoring the coronavirus situation, and that its members had significantly increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting all public and backstage areas beyond the standard daily schedule, while adding alcohol-based sanitizer dispensers for public use in the lobby of every theater.

The League also urged anyone who is experiencing cold or flu symptoms, or who is not feeling well, to stay home and contact the point of purchase for more information about ticket exchanges and policies.