Andrew Lloyd Webber plans to test live performances at London Palladium in July

Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced plans to test live performances at London Palladium in July.

Theatres across the country have been closed as a result of the ongoing global health crisis since March.

As other businesses such as pubs and shops prepare to reopen, Andrew Lloyd Webber has revealed hopes of proving theatres can be safe.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today show, he said trials were planned for July at the London Palladium.

It follows continued performances of The Phantom of the Opera in South Korea over the past two months.

He explained: “The key thing they have is incredibly good hygiene in every possible way. Both backstage and in the front of the orchestra. The whole point is to make people feel as safe and secure as they can.

“For example they have thermal imaging cameras at stage door and as you come into the theatre. These can identify if people have temperatures extremely quickly. Airlines are also developing this and we’ve also ordered it. We’ve ordered silver ion self-cleaning door handles for our little tests, these are completely effective against pathogens like coronavirus for a long period of time. Everybody going into the theatre is fogged with the anti-viral chemical, which lasts 30 days.”

Lloyd Webber continued: “What I hope to do is to demonstrate to the Government what has happened in Korea at the London Palladium in the first week of July. We’ve just had the final bits of equipment delivered into England. We hope to have them in the theatre next Monday. Then we’re going to do a series of tests there to see whether it’s going to work.

“The reason we’ve chosen the London Palladium is it’s a very big theatre – it’s just under 2,300 seats. It’s the biggest theatre we have, and therefore the most problematic. We want to demonstrate there that this can work. All one can do is try to be positive – we in theatre must be positive and demonstrate that we can open.”

Lloyd Webber went on to reveal some rather surprising details about the government’s response to the theatre industry amid the ongoing pandemic.

He shared: “I don’t know what’s going to be in the report on theatre that’s coming out on Monday. But I sincerely hope it doesn’t contain some of the things I’ve seen in their advice – one of which was a brilliant one for musicals that you’re not allowed to sing!”

Lloyd Webber concluded: “I’ve been over 50 years in the theatre, it’s my life, it’s my blood – it’s been absolutely awful to see everything that I’ve loved in my life gone. And the theatres are my way of putting something back into the business that’s been so good to me.

“I want to prove they can be open.”

Picture credit: Flickr/Linda Hartley

About the author: Rachel Wise

UK based freelancer journalist Rachel contributes regularly to Stageberry with features and interviews from the hottest new shows and stage stars.


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