Many of Britain’s arts venues have had to close as Covid-19 takes hold across the country, with everything from pub theatres to stadiums closing their doors and cancelling performances.
In London the Royal Opera House, Royal Albert Hall and the Coliseum, home of the English National Opera, have all announced that they will be shut to the public until further notice. Other venues such as Sadler’s Wells, the Barbican, Wilton’s Music Hall and National Theatre are also closed.
Touring companies and festivals are also being cancelled or postponed. Glyndebourne Festival, which was due to start on 21 May, has been delayed to 14 July. Opera Holland Park has cancelled its spring and summer performances. English Touring Opera and the Welsh National Opera have also cancelled performances.
Theatres and opera companies are taking this difficult decision based on advice from the government to close in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19. Further cases of this flu-like virus are being announced every day and 137 deaths in the UK were confirmed as of 19 March. The advice for individuals remains to ‘socially distance’ yourself.
Those with tickets booked are being offered refunds. However, many venues are asking ticket holders, where possible, to donate the cost of the ticket. The arts in the UK are severely underfunded and most theatres rely on ticket sales. Many will struggle because of the closures and may not even be able to open again, especially if the shutdown continues for any length of time.
This is a fast-changing situation and we’ll provide further updates as they occur. In the meantime, stay safe and remember you can get your opera fix from the radio or several streaming services.
The Royal Opera House is closed to the public till further notice.