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Andrew Lloyd Webber threatens legal action if theatres cannot open at capacity later this month

The composer gave some remarks as step four in the roadmap approaches

Andrew Lloyd Webber
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Composer and venue owner Andrew Lloyd Webber has threatened legal action if he is unable to reopen at capacity from 21 June.

Speaking to the Mail, Lloyd Webber displayed a dwindling degree of patience surrounding the current capacity restrictions – which means the vast majority of theatres are unable to function in a financially viable fashion.

Though commending the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden for "fighting really hard", Lloyd Webber pointed to the successful Covid trials in Sheffield, where full capacity audiences were able to sit and watch the Snooker World Championships with risk mitigation measures in place. Lloyd Webber also highlighted the recent success at the Brit Awards in London, where thousands were able to sit and watch performances at the O2.

He carried on: "We would conform with anything the Government asks us to do to get 100 per cent open – but we have to be 100 per cent."

Questioning "the legality of the whole thing", Lloyd Webber went on to say: "If the Government's own science has told them that buildings are safe... I'm advised that at that point things could get quite difficult...This is the very last thing that anybody wants to do, but there would become a legal case at that point because it's their science – not ours. I would passionately hope that we don't have to, but I think we would have to consider it."

Lloyd Webber, Emerald Fennell and David Zippel's new musical Cinderella is currently set to open in previews towards the end of June, with a cast led by Carrie Hope Fletcher.

While the ability to take legal action over Covid regulations has been a longstanding source of debate over the last 15 months, if the decision to keep venues closed was made via secondary leglislation then it may be amenable to judicial review.

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