UK theatres need urgent help, David Tennant warns

UK theatres will need government help if they are to survive the coronavirus pandemic, actor David Tennant has warned.

Venues across the country closed in March as a national lockdown was imposed in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.

Some prominent industry figures, including playwright James Graham, fear it may take a year for theatres to reopen their doors.

David Tennant
David Tennant has warned theatres will need government help to survive the coronavirus pandemic (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Tennant said one of the biggest stumbling blocks was audience safety.

In an interview with the Radio Times, he said: “The audience is the bigger issue. You’re asking people to pay a lot of money to potentially have someone coughing into their packet of boiled sweets and infecting them.

“I don’t know what the answer is yet. It’s urgent, because the performing arts in this country don’t exist with huge profit margins.”

Former Doctor Who star Tennant said some theatres were “teetering,” adding: “We’ll need Government intervention until theatres can safely reopen, and audiences are happy to go back.”

The Nuffield theatre in Southampton has already gone bust.

Sir Sam Mendes, the Oscar-winning director, struck a more positive note during an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, expressing hope a solution could be found to support the country’s ailing theatre sector through the lockdown.

Sir Sam said: “I do feel there’s a way through here. I feel very positive about it, I think one has to stay positive.

“I believe there’s a way here and I feel that is a sense that has been listened to and over the next couple of weeks this might begin to have some purchase.”

Read the full interview with David Tennant in this week’s Radio Times.

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