Stephen Fry’s fears for performing arts amid ‘dark times’

Stephen Fry has said he cannot foresee any theatres opening to live audiences until 2021, adding that these are “dark times indeed” for the performing arts.

Theatres and concert halls around the country were closed following Government advice against visiting leisure venues in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Some 28,734 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, the latest figures show.

Writing in the Eastern Daily Press about the impact of Covid-19 on the arts, he said: “I cannot see any theatres opening to live audiences before next year, I’m afraid.

“Perhaps March or April, a full year after the first lockdown.

“The very quality that makes theatre so thrilling and compelling – the united presence of an audience clustered together to experience live performance – is what makes the enterprise so unsuited in a period of social distancing.”

Fry added that people in theatre are, like Winston Churchill, “hoping for the best but preparing for the worst”.

“We must do what we can to make sure that there is a world of live drama and entertainment for us as a nation when the all-clear has sounded”, he added.