London theatre from ActDrop


London theatres remain closed to audiences.


Announced on 19 December by the Prime Minister, London (along with all areas in the South East of England) was moved to Tier 4 restrictions from 20 December 2020 due to increasing cases of the coronavirus and a new variant of the virus.


Prior to that, London was already in Tier 3 which meant that entertainment venues had already been closed.


In a televised broadcast on 4 January, the Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown for England including the closure of schools until at least mid-February.


With the current tier structure, theatres can only reopen for live performances with an audience present when London is moved down to at least Tier 2.


One cabinet minister has indicated that some restrictions may need to remain in place into March, which means theatres are unlikely to be allowed to reopen before the early spring.


However, the exact timing remains speculative being dependent not just on the infection rate but also on the vaccination effort which is gathering pace, but unlikely (according to the Prime Minister) to reach all but the most vulnerable and the over 70s by mid February.


The prospects for London's theatres and their blighted workforce therefore remains, sadly, rather gloomy and we all face further weeks without live theatre across the capital.


Pantos and Christmas shows


In normal times (remember those?) pantos and Christmas shows would still be playing around London at this time of year, but venues had to close down their festive offerings back in December and shows have been cancelled.


The panto season is when many smaller theatres make sufficient income to carry them through the next year of productions, so the cancellation of this year's pantos will have a devastating impact on theatre finances on top of the huge losses incurred during 2020.


Even with the financial aid the government has already provided, it looks like the theatre sector will require more government funding in order for venues to survive during 2021 and beyond.


Other shows


Festive productions aside, shows which had been planned to open in January and February are being postponed or cancelled.


Further cancellations are possible for shows due to start performances in March since the relaxation of tier restrictions is likely to be staggered, meaning theatres may well be closed longer than, for example, schools and colleges.


If you hold tickets for cancelled performances, you should be contacted by your point of purchase about refunds or exchange of your booking for a future date.


And, if you have tickets for dates form February onwards, you may wish to consult the appropriate theatre website to check on cancellations.


We'll continue to update our show listings as we receive more information once venues announce revised schedules.


The West End's big shows - such as DEAR EVAN HANSEN, Mamma Mia!, Mary Poppins and others - remain suspended as has been the case since March last year.


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Crips Without Constraints: Part 2 - from Graeae

Monday 18 January 2021


Five new plays from a new generation of Deaf and disabled artists will be presented online by Graeae Theatre Company every week from 19 January.


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British Theatre Challenge 2021

Wednesday 13 January 2021


New and established writers have the chance to get their work professionally produced at London's Jack Studio Theatre by entering the British Theatre Challenge 2021.


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Star Man - online

Wednesday 13 January 2021


New play - Star Man - will live stream online on 17 January in support of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity akt.


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Gatsby A Musical

Monday 11 January 2021


Filmed in the historic Cadogan Hall, Gatsby A Musical will be available to stream online from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th February 2021.


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The Sorcerer's Apprentice world premiere

Monday 11 January 2021


Originally due at Southwark Playhouse, the world premiere of new British musical, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, switches to pay-per-view from Friday 26 February.


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Nimax announces closures

Tuesday 15 December 2020


Nimax Theatres has announced closure of all its venues from 16 December 2020 to 8 January 2021 owing to London being put into tier 3 restrictions to combat the coronavirus outbreak.


Nimax operates 6 theatres in the West End:


Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue

Duchess Theatre, Catherine Street

Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road

Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue

Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue

Vaudeville Theatre, Strand


If you hold tickets for any of the shows which were due during the dates above, the ticketing team will be in touch with you about your booking.


Dick Whittington streaming free

Thursday 10 December 2020


It's been a difficult year for panto, with many theatres in London and across the UK having to cancel their planned festive productions.

Dick Whittington streaming from the National Theatre

Image courtesy National Theatre


However, panto is heading to the National Theatre's newly transformed Olivier Theatre from 11 December to 23 January.


Originally commissioned by the Lyric Theatre Hammermsith, Ned Bennett directs this new version of the classic tale which has been specially updated for 2020 by Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd.


Though some performances are already sold out, there are still tickets to be snapped up - with Friday Rush tickets at £10 and standard prices starting at £20, but all tickets must be booked online.


There's also some welcome news for those who can't make it in person as the National be streaming the show for FREE from 3pm on 23 December to midnight on 27 December on the National's YouTube channel.


So, while the UK covid restrictions ease over Christmas, you'll be able to get some of the special magic that is panto.


Reopening season at Old Red Lion

Wednesday 9 December 2020


Islington's acclaimed family-run pub theatre, The Old Red Lion, is bringing back shows as it announces its reopening season.


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Casting announced for Christmas Allsorts

Wednesday 25 November 2020


Queen's Theatre Hornchurch has announced casting for its variety show - Christmas Allsorts - which will provides some much-needed family fun this festive season.


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Casting for The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Wednesday 25 November 2020


Greenwich’s favourite panto villain Anthony Spargo returns in the cast of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, bringing festive magic south of the river to Greenwich Theatre.


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More news ...


All our longer news items are here - and you can catch-up with shorter news stories here.


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