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Andrew Lloyd Webber pleas with Boris Johnson on opening theatres: "Give us a date, mate"

Andrew Lloyd Webber bbc

Andrew Lloyd Webber has pleaded with the Prime Minister to give a date when theatres can fully reopen.

Lloyd Webber made the comments as he hosted a pilot socially distanced concert at the London Palladium on Thursday.

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The event saw Beverley Knight perform to an audience of around 640 at the 2,297 capacity venue.

Lloyd Webber said on stage: "This is a rather sad sight... the Palladium is meant to be full. It’s a theatre that wants to love you. I think this will prove why social distancing in theatre doesn't work."

He claimed that the safety measures implemented at the Palladium made it safer than Oxford Street.

"The air here is sucked in from above the building and is then filtered, and expelled in a better state than when it came in, so you are safer in here than you are on Oxford Street," the musical theatre impresario said.

Lloyd Webber added: "I want to stress one thing. The measures we are taking at the Palladium are not about getting the London Palladium open. It’s about my passion for theatre and for live entertainment all over the country and all over the world."

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He went on to make a plea directly to prime minister Boris Johnson to "Give us a date, mate".

Lloyd Webber explained: "When we are allowed to reopen again, it is going to take at least 4 to 6 weeks even for a long running show to get back up again, particularly now as actors have moved on or whatever. A new show will take much longer than that. You have to make decisions about whether to build scenery and you have to get shops open to do all of that. It’s not something that can be done just like that.

"We badly need a date when we can re-open, a date that at least we can be given as a target.

"Of course, we all understand that if there is another spike in the virus, or god forbid the pandemic rethinks itself or whatever, we absolutely know we can’t reopen, but we need a target date when we can reopen without social distancing."

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