The second longest running musical in the West End, Phantom of The Opera, is closing after thirty-four years, due to financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news comes as a stark reminder of the damaging situation theatres up and down the country face as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown.
The closure of Phantom follows previous announcements of local theatre closures, and the cancellation of the UK and Ireland tour which was announced in May.
Earlier this month, the government announced a £1.57 billion package of emergency funding for theatres. Cameron Mackintosh (producer of the show) said that “this help still hasn’t materialised”. Without redundancies, Mackintosh said his company would not survive the prolonged shutdown.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, the show’s composer, responded to the news, stating: “As far as I’m concerned, Phantom will reopen as soon as it is possible”.
Mackintosh also expressed hopes that the production would be able to return to London in the future, though it is uncertain when.
It’s unclear when or how theatres will reopen. However, losing such a long running and popular show is yet another blow to an industry already struggling with widespread and prolonged closures.
Words by Joanne Elliott.
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