Coronavirus UK: Phantom of the Opera completes 34-year West End run

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The Phantom of the Opera has been forced to shut down permanently on the West End amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The show, which has been taking place at Her Majesty’s Theater since 1986, is the capital’s second-oldest production.

However, the financial impact of the pandemic and the lingering restrictions on theaters in the UK forced it to shut down, producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh said.

Touring productions of Phantom of the Opera, written by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, have also come to an end.

Sir Cameron had previously said all of his London shows could not return until 2021.

The Phantom of the Opera, which has been touring at Her Majesty’s Theater since 1986, has been forced to close

The financial impact of the pandemic and the lingering restrictions on theaters in the UK have forced it to close, producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh said.

The financial impact of the pandemic and the lingering restrictions on theaters in the UK have forced it to close, producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh said.

He hopes his shows will launch before Easter, but admitted that without government support it could be pushed back to the summer, “causing further devastating losses to both the theater industry and the economy of. London ”.

He is also the producer behind the smash hits Hamilton and Les Misérables.

Writing in the Evening Standard, he said: “When Covid first came out, my eight theaters were filled with hit shows, including some of my own.

“So as by far the largest independent employer in the West End, it’s no surprise that as a theater owner and producer, without outside investors, I suffered a huge financial blow.

“On top of that Andrew and I unfortunately had to stop our London and UK touring productions of The Phantom of the Opera for good, but we are determined to bring it back to London in the future. “

The producer is hopeful that Phantom of the Opera could return in the future, although he’s not sure when it might be.

The beloved show tells the story of a musician wearing a living mask under the Paris Opera who becomes obsessed with a woman called Christine.

Sir Cameron has previously criticized the government’s policy towards theaters amid the pandemic.

In June, he said: “Although the government has engaged with desperate appeals from everyone in the theater industry, so far there has been no tangible concrete support beyond offers to go into debt. that I don’t want to do.

Music giants Les Misérables, Mary Poppins and Hamilton won't be returning to the West End this year

Music giants Les Misérables, Mary Poppins and Hamilton won’t be returning to the West End this year

“Their inability to say when the impossible constraints of social distancing will be lifted also prevents us from properly planning whatever the new future may be.

“It has required me to take drastic measures to make sure I have the resources to keep my business going and allow my shows and theaters to reopen next year when we are allowed to do so.

“Everything I have done has come from the theater and everything I have returned to these magnificent historic buildings that I have lovingly restored and the spectacular productions I have so painstakingly insisted on remain in pristine condition wherever they perform in the world – making me one of the biggest employers in the theater.

“The commercial theater provides billions of pounds of revenue to the economy.

“It is time for this to be recognized and for the government to take action to ensure the survival of this invaluable resource in which the British people excel.

Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber has warned that Chinese investors may be ready to buy West End theaters if they don't receive urgent funding to help them deal with the fallout from the lockdown.

Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber has warned that Chinese investors may be ready to buy West End theaters if they don’t receive urgent funding to help them deal with the fallout from the lockdown.

“Without our theaters ablaze with life, London cannot properly reopen as one of the greatest cities in the world.

It comes as the National Theaters Advisory Body has warned that box office revenue is down by more than £ 300million during the lockdown, threatening sites with closure.

An Oxford Economics report had previously predicted that the virus would lead to a ‘cultural catastrophe’ with more than 400,000 job losses and a loss of £ 74 billion in revenue in the arts industry.

Andrew Lloyd Webber had previously warned that Chinese investors may be ready to buy London’s West End theaters.

The composer told the Daily Telegraph that foreign buyers could take advantage of the precarious financial situation in which UK theaters find themselves.

“There are big buyers who are not British and would like to own West End theaters,” he said.

He said that in the recent sale of the Theater Royal Haymarket, the price was inflated by a Chinese bidder.

The theater was purchased for £ 45million, paid for by billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik in 2018.

This has far exceeded other London theater awards, most notably the Victoria Palace, which Cameron Mackintosh bought for around £ 26million in 2014, and the Palace Theater, in 2012.

Lord Lloyd Webber added: “So maybe it’s not just the Chinese telephone networks that the government needs to be concerned about. “

He also said the industry had received “no details” from the government on how its £ 1.57bn support program for the arts would be distributed.

Lord Lloyd Webber has warned that without urgent funds and a clear timetable for the reopening, theater owners will be forced to put the buildings up for sale.

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