Andrew Lloyd Webber slams ‘illogical and damaging’ isolation guidelines as his £6million Cinderella musical shuts – after just ONE case
A devastated Andrew Lloyd Webber has blamed the Government’s ‘illogical and damaging’ isolation guidelines for the indefinite closure of his £6million musical Cinderella.
The theatre impresario told the Daily Mail he will not lift the curtain until ‘common sense prevails’ after being forced to announce its cancellation hours before its first night with a full audience yesterday.
The 73-year-old producer, whose show was to signal the reopening of the West End, said there has only been one positive case among the entire cast and crew. But under the Government’s isolation guidance, dubbed the pingdemic, he said he cannot continue the run.
The 73-year-old producer, whose show was to signal the reopening of the West End, said there has only been one positive case among the entire cast and crew
Under the Government’s isolation guidance, dubbed the pingdemic, Mr Webber said he cannot continue the run
He said: ‘We do not want to see any final curtain on any part of the theatre industry. Theatre is the dynamo for so many jobs. As well as actors and production staff we create opportunities far beyond the stage – for chefs and waiters, costume hire and taxi drivers, bus drivers and dry cleaners.’
He said staff on the production have been left ‘devastated’ as they have ‘been as safety conscious as an army base’.
He added: ‘We have a system in place in our theatre which tests people so that no one positive even gets in the building. All our staff are devastated that a virus detection system punctures our ability to create work and jobs rather than protects them. The current policy is illogical and damaging.
‘We will open again when the use of existing testing is recognised and common sense prevails.’ Lord Lloyd-Webber said he had made the ‘heart-breaking’ decision yesterday. He said in a statement: ‘Today, on this “Freedom Day”, I have been forced to take the heart-breaking decision not to open my Cinderella.’ Two scheduled shows were cancelled on Saturday. All cast and crew were negative after tests over the weekend and on Monday morning.
Lord Lloyd-Webber, who has spent £1million a month to keep his theatres afloat, had claimed he would have been willing to face arrest by opening at full capacity
He said: ‘Despite this, the impossible conditions created by the blunt instrument that is the Government’s isolation guidance mean that we cannot continue. Cinderella was ready to go. My sadness for our cast and crew, our loyal audience and the industry I have been fighting for is impossible to put into words.’
Carrie Hope Fletcher, who plays Cinderella, wrote on Instagram: ‘So sorry to everyone who had tickets to however many performances [that] won’t be going ahead… from the bottom of my heart I’m so, so sorry.’ The show, written by The Crown star Emerald Fennell, opened on June 25 at the Gillian Lynne Theatre at a 50 per cent audience capacity.
Lord Lloyd-Webber, who has spent £1million a month to keep his theatres afloat, had claimed he would have been willing to face arrest by opening at full capacity then. But he retracted this after being told staff and audience members would all face individual fines.