Closures, letters and doing something. William Russell.

The great and the good have written a letter to the Times about the plight of the theatre – published on the 24 June. It explains the predicament our theatres face but offers no suggestions as to what can be done, just another ritual act by the signatories all the kind of people who think writing a letter to the Times will move the establishment. Maybe it will, but equally one with suggestions other than asking for cash help might have more effect. While Cameron Macintosh has mothballed his big West End musicals Andrew Lloyd Webber is at least trying to do something and has announced that he is going to test out an anti viral fog machine and thermal image scanning at the London Palladium, procedures which have apparently worked with the production of Phantom of the Opera in South Korea.His Joseph is due to return there next year. They may not work but the hope is to test them early next month and given that officialdom seem to have suggested musicals without singers were a possibility – the mind boggles – it is someone trying to do something.
The letter makes reference to the fringe theatres of the nation but basically these are the big boys, the establishment figures. The Jermyn Street theatre, one of London’s best small theatres with programmes way and above its punching weight, has just announced it will not re-open until next year. Apart from anything else it suffered flood damage just at the point of lock down. If you wish you could send it a donation to help. But you could do that to pretty well every fringe theatre in the land – what we do is review as much as possible that they ate putting on line. The equally embattled Finborough, another which regularly punches above its weight and has an astonishing record of rescuing forgotten plays, needs help.These are in London, but there are small theatres closed and in dire straits all over the country. You can google the one in your town or city – it is a vase of Brother, if you can spare a dime then spare it.
Photograph – Getty image.

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