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West End theatres could be closed until 2021, fears Sir Cameron Mackintosh

les miserables west end - 1

Sir Cameron Mackintosh has said he fears theatres in London's West End could be closed until next year.

Current lockdown and social distancing restrictions have seen theatres across the UK closed since March.

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Appearing on Michael Ball's BBC Radio 2 show (from 1:30:00), Mackintosh gave his thoughts on the ongoing situation.

He suggested: "Unless we hear something in the next few weeks, I think the truth is we won't be back until early next year and that's my fear.

"But we're all sitting there, we're ready and excited and fighting for theatre when it does re-open."

Mackintosh explained: "It's a shame because it looks like London and Broadway are going to be the last to go back... We know it's going to get back eventually, but it takes months and months to get the huge shows that we do up.

"My heart goes out to all the wonderful artists and musicians who work in the theatre who are just sitting there waiting to practice their art."

Mackintosh continued: "All the major producers, we're all talking on both sides of the Atlantic. The truth is, until social distancing doesn't exist anymore, we can't even plan to reopen.

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"I think from the moment social distancing is gone, we will take us four to five months to get the actors back together and re-open the mothballed theatres. It's a huge thing, a big musical has 200 people working in that one building. It's why live theatre is like no other, it's the most exhilarating experience you can ever go to."

He added: "What definitely we all know is that we want the audiences and actors to feel safe. You can't change the stage: try doing "One Day More" six feet apart. You'd need Radio City Music Hall. And it'd be no good. An audience being spaced out would be a horrible experience."

With theatres closed, a number of shows have been made available to watch online.

These include Mackintosh's staged concert production of Les Misérables which starred Ball as Javert.

Mackintosh revealed that the release had raised over £250,000 for charities Acting for Others, the Musicians Union Hardship Fund and Captain Tom Moore’s Walk for the NHS fund.

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