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West End and UK theatres to remain closed until at least August 2

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West End and UK theatres are to remain closed until at least August 2, it's been announced.

Theatres across London and the UK closed in March as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

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The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has now said venues will remain closed through until at least August 2, 2020.

In a statement they said: "London's West End looks forward to welcoming audiences back into our theatres. We are working closely with the government to explore ways in which we can safely reopen.

"To give our customers clarity and help us operationally, we have been cancelling performances across the West End on a rolling month by month basis since the start of lockdown.

"Every show is now extending cancellations until Sunday 2 August, certain shows may decide to extend this cancellation period and producers will make their own statement as appropriate for their shows.

"Ticketholders for affected performances do not need to do anything. They will be contacted by the organisation from which they bought their tickets to arrange a refund, credit note or exchange for a later date.

"This does not mean theatres will reopen on 3 August; and further cancellations will continue to be announced on a rolling basis. The decision to reopen theatres will be made based on government and scientific advice on gatherings and events. Different theatres and productions are likely to reopen at different times.

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"We are grateful to customers for the continued patience and kindness they are showing during this challenging time for our industry. With 300,000 people visiting West End theatres in a normal week, it remains a major undertaking to process refunds, exchanges and credit notes, particularly when many staff are working remotely. Please rest assured that we are all working as quickly as we can, and we appreciate the continued support and understanding of our audiences."

Full advice on refunds to those with tickets during the closure period can be found online here.

In a speech in March, Boris Johnson ordered theatres as well as restaurants, bars, clubs and pubs to close.

He said: "Now, these are places where people come together, and indeed the whole purpose of these businesses is to bring people together. But the sad thing is that today for now, at least physically, we need to keep people apart.

“And I want to stress that we will review the situation each month, to see if we can relax any of these measures."

While some measures have since been relaxed, it remains to be seen when theatres will be operating again.

> Free musicals and plays to watch online for free.

In the meantime, many in the theatre world have been using social media to keep productions alive.

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