British Theatres respond to the death of Queen Elizabeth II

As the United Kingdom mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II, theatres around the UK are preparing for the upcoming funeral and their plans to honour the monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully on 8 September 2022.
Photo: The Royal Family, Facebook

Following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II at age 96, the United Kingdom is currently in a 12-day period of national mourning.

As a supporter of the arts during her 70-year-old reign, UK theatres and the theatre industry, in general, are honoring the period of mourning. This article aims to show how West End performances will be affected and the response of the theatre industry in general. This article will be updated as updates are received.

Will theatre performances be cancelled as a result of Queen Elizabeth II’s death?

We have started to receive notifications that West End theatre productions may be cancelled on the 19th September (the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral).

West End performances already confirming cancellation on 19 September include:-

& Juliet – Shaftesbury Theatre
Back To The Future : The Musical – Adelphi Theatre
Bright Half Life – King’s Head Theatre
Cabaret – Kit at Club (Playhouse Theatre)
Come From Away – Phoenix Theatre
Dear Evan Hansen – Noel Coward Theatre
Eureka Day – Old Vic Theatre
Grease – Dominion Theatre
Hamilton – Victoria Palace Theatre
Jersey Boys – Trafalgar Theatre
Les Miserables – Sondheim Theatre
Life of Pi – Wyndham’s Theatre
Mamma Mia! – Novello Theatre
Mary Poppins – Prince Edward Theatre
Moulin Rouge – Piccadilly Theatre
Only Fools and Horses The Musical – Theatre Royal Haymarket
The Book of Mormon – Prince of Wales Theatre
The Mousetrap – St Martins Lane
The Phantom Of The Opera – Her Majesty’s Theatre
To Kill A Mockingbird – Gielgud Theatre
The Woman In Black – Fortune Theatre

The Tempest – The Globe (18th September)
I, Joan – The Globe (19th September)

Further cancellation notices will be added as they come to hand. Please note it is possible other shows may be affected but have not notified us of cancellation. If in any doubt contact the theatre directly.

If you have booked theatre tickets for a cancelled performance on 19 September you will be contacted by the ticket vendor or theatre direct.

ATTRACTIONS

The following attractions will also be closed on the 19th September:-

  • Royal Collection Trust (The State Rooms, The Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery, Windsor Castle and The Palace of Holyroodhouse) (+ closed until 21st September 2022).
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral (+ closed until 20th September 2022)
  • The Tower of London
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Banqueting House
  • Kensington Palace
  • Kew Gardens
  • Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
  • Merlin UK attractions
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour
  • The Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition
  • Royal Museums Greenwich
  • Cutty Sark
  • The Painted Hall
  • Chelsea Stadium Tours
  • Big Bus
  • Wembley Stadium Tours
  • BBakery Afternoon Tea Bus
  • All City Cruises Products (incl. London, Poole & York)

Will Queen Elizabeth II be honoured at theatre performances?

The Society Of London Theatres issued the following statement:-

“Following the sad news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in accordance with official guidance, the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre have advised that theatres are expected to remain open from tonight and for the duration of the period of national mourning up until the funeral.

Theatres across the country will be dimming their lights at 7pm for 2 minutes each evening as a mark of respect, which is theatre’s traditional way to honour those that have passed.

The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre will be issuing further updates in line with official guidance once timings and details of the funeral have been confirmed, and audiences will be kept informed.

We would like to extend our condolences to the Royal Family at this sad time.”

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Catherine Mallyon (RSC Executive Director) and Erica Whyman (RSC Acting Artistic Director) reflect on the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

“We are deeply saddened at the news of the Queen’s death, and our thoughts are with her family, and particularly His Majesty The King. Her Majesty The Queen was Patron of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1961, when the Company was created.”

“Her Majesty last visited us in Stratford-upon-Avon on 4 March 2011, to open formally the transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre. This was a memorable day in the history of the RSC where she met and talked with members of the Company and those involved in the redevelopment and transformation of the theatre.

“It was a great pleasure for us to rehearse with [the former] HRH The Prince of Wales in preparation for his poetic tribute to his mother on her 90th birthday in 2016. We were honoured to be part of such a special moment.

“Shakespeare’s Henry VIII contains a prophecy by Archbishop Cranmer about the baby princess Elizabeth I:

She shall be, to the happiness of England,
An aged princess; many days shall see her,
And yet no day without a deed to crown it.

Translated to our times, Elizabeth II sought the happiness of England with her steadfast service, certainly lived many days, and did a great deed on every one.”

We intend to go ahead with performances and events throughout the national mourning period, in line with official guidance.

Any performances and events on the day of The Queen’s funeral will be cancelled, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre will be open for visitors to join together to watch a screening of the event.

Any ticket holders will be contacted directly, and we will update this page with details as soon as possible.

War Horse National Theatre
HM the Queen with War Horse Joey visiting the National Theatre 50th Anniversary – 22 October 2013. Photo: Ellie Kurtz

A statement from the National Theatre London:-

We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen, who was Royal Patron of the National Theatre for over four decades. We are proud and honoured to have had such a long-standing association.  See the full statement from the National Theatre here.

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Royal Shakespeare Company
A statement from the Royal Shakespeare Company

 

 

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