London theatres close as economic downturn bites
Saturday 02 August 2008
The lights have gone out in five West End theatres, amid fears that traditional plays are being shunned by cash-strapped audiences in favour of musicals. Just seven non-musical plays are being staged in London's theatreland, compared to 24 musicals.
The Apollo theatre will reopen in September with Rain Man. However, along with the Comedy, Gielgud, Lyric and Novello, it is set to remain closed for the summer.
The chief executive of two of the theatres said the downturn meant people were turning away from high-brow plays. Nica Burns, who runs the Apollo and Lyric theatres, said: "When times are hard, people are more likely to spend what little money they have on being cheered up by a musical."
The theatre critic Mark Shenton said: "Tourists – particularly the Americans who traditionally keep the theatre alive in the summer – are staying away, thanks to the weak dollar and a recession that is starting to bite."
Bill Kenwright, whose company produced Evita and Joseph, is said to have almost given up on producing plays because of losses on recent productions.
And some critics fear that the West End is turning into a "virtual Disneyland". Nicholas de Jongh warned there is a danger it will become, "festooned with musicals".
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 A third of employers never check job applicants' qualifications, survey finds
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians