Andrew Lloyd Webber is using the London Palladium as a test site to try out various COVID-19 prevention measures in the hope of getting theatres open again.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is planning to trial measures at the London Palladium after Phantom Of The Opera continued in South Korea with strict hygiene measures and no social distancing.
It has since remained open and uses equipment such as thermal imaging cameras to measure temperature and self-cleaning antibacterial door handle covers. The audience wears face masks and uses hand sanitiser.
“The key thing that they have is incredibly good hygiene … both backstage for the cast and the crew and the orchestra but also for people in the front of house,” said Lloyd Webber.
With so much at stake Andrew called on the theatre industry to be positive about its future amid the pandemic.
— Andrew Lloyd Webber (@OfficialALW) June 20, 2020
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 yesterday the composer said there can be no social distancing “because it’s impossible to do social distancing in the theatre”.
“The reason that we’ve chosen the Palladium is that it’s a very big theatre, just under 2300 seats. It’s the biggest theatre we have and in one way the most problematic. We want to be able to demonstrate there that this can work.”
“All we can do is continue to be positive and demonstrate we can open. If we do that and we fail then at least we’ve tried.”
Speaking about the government’s response to the pandemic in relation to the arts and theatre, Lloyd Webber said: “I would love to say that I think that they understood a little more.”
“I have seen a report, I don’t know what’s going to be in the report on theatre that’s coming out on Monday (22 June), but I sincerely hope it doesn’t contain some of the things that I’ve seen in some of their advice, one of which was a brilliant one for musicals – that you’re not allowed to sing.”
With productions like The Phantom Of The Opera, Les Miserables, Hamilton and Mary Poppins now closed until into 2021, theatre is in a precarious situation. We will be keeping everything crossed and wish Andrew every success with this test run at the Palladium.