Last week I saw ‘Sleepless The Musical’ – yes, my first piece of live theatre in six months. It was playing at the Troubadour Theatre in Wembley, aptly located next to one of the world’s most famous performance venues of the stadium itself.
The audience were sat with spaces in between parties, masks compulsory, temperatures checked on arrival. The cast even had daily coronavirus tests. Perhaps it’s not one of the most financially viable ways to run a show, but it certainly is an effective one in today’s new world. And the rules and regulations didn’t affect that signature, almost indescribable theatrical atmosphere half as much as I thought they might. For although the theatre was only half full to enable social distancing, the excitement of the audience at rediscovering live theatre was utterly contagious.
As the lights dimmed and the music swelled, I was instantly reminded of why I love the theatre so much, and although the show had mixed reviews, its groundbreaking success at returning theatre to our lives made it a five star production in my books.
So where does theatre go next?
Alan Bennet’s plays ‘Talking Heads’ is open at the Bridge Theatre too, with the benefit of being naturally Covid-secure as a series of one man plays, while the musical ‘Six’ is set to reopen in November. If nothing else, these productions prove that theatre can exist in a socially-distanced world, safe enough for audiences while cinemas and restaurants also stay open with the one metre plus rule. But the question remains as to whether these sorts of productions are sustainable with the low audience numbers, high risk factors, and expensive cast coronavirus tests. This question is only compounded as cases slowly rise and restrictions are reimposed. Many wonder if live theatre will survive to Christmas, and it’s a legitimate concern.
But all is not lost, for there is still the government’s £1.7b investment in the arts circulating around the industry, which will hopefully sustain theatres until a time when they can all open their doors once more. And with the support of theatre fans across the country and the ingenuity of producers at finding creative solutions to adhere to social distancing rules, theatres can, for the meantime, provide an artistic outlet for the country once more.
So I would recommend all theatre-lovers to rediscover their passion in the upcoming weeks. Staying safe can go hand in hand with staying entertained it seems!
Did you know that you can buy theatre tickets directly from Voice? We have access to a wide array of theatre shows and hot ticket attractions, and every ticket sold goes towards helping us keep the lights on!
To buy tickets for Sleepless The Musical – and many more – visit https://tickets.voicemag.uk/