Theatres decimated ahead of London’s Tier 3 move, playwright says

Playwright James Graham has said the theatre industry has been “decimated” ahead of the closure of venues in London and some surrounding areas.

Entertainment venues in the capital and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will be welcoming visitors for the last time on Tuesday before new Tier 3 restrictions come into force.

Graham, who wrote Ink, This House and The Vote, as well as TV dramas Quiz and Brexit, labelled the move as “sad”.

He tweeted: “The largest concentration of theatres on earth managed to open last week, only to close tonight.

“The hope was to revive a decimated sector & tell stories at Christmas.

“Thousands spent to get Covid secure, closed in blanket measures. So sorry. So sad.”

Tier 2 restrictions in the affected regions currently allow for socially-distanced performances to take place while galleries and museums can also welcome visitors.

West End Stock
West End Stock

However, arts venues now find themselves having to close again after the lockdown in England came to an end on December 2.

A spokeswoman for London’s National Gallery said: “As a result of London moving into Tier 3 from Wednesday December 16 2020, the National Gallery is temporarily closing at 9pm tonight (Tuesday December 15).

“If you have a ticket for an upcoming visit to the gallery, you don’t need to do anything, we’ll be in touch with you as soon as possible.

“The gallery remains open online 24/7, bringing the nation’s art to the nation’s homes. We look forward to welcoming you back soon. ”

On Monday, theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh criticised the Government’s decision to move London into Tier 3, saying it is “devastating” and “smacks of panic”.

Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018 – London
Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018 – London

His production of Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre in the West End will be forced to close from Wednesday.

He said the performers and staff at the theatre have been tipped “into unemployment just in time for Christmas – Bah Humbug to the Prime Minister and the men in white coats”.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, who owns the London Palladium, which is currently staging the Pantoland pantomime, said on Monday that it seems “arbitrary and unfair” that theatre performances are being banned while shopping is allowed to continue.