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Cameron Mackintosh reveals plans to begin full-scale West End performances in May 2021

Les Misérables is currently courting next spring as a reopening date

Les Misérables
© Johan Persson

Producer Cameron Mackintosh, who had previously delayed reopening his musicals until "as early as practical", has signalled hopes for a full West End return date for some of his shows late next spring.

According to releases sent yesterday, "the critically acclaimed new production of Les Misérables, which opened in January of this year, is planned to re-open at the Sondheim Theatre next May once the Government has withdrawn social distancing and reached Stage 5 allowing full capacity audiences. Booking will re-commence soon."

A number of high-profile shows are orbiting a similar reopening date, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical Cinderella, the West End premiere of Back to the Future and the return of Jersey Boys, at the beginning of April.

With many producers celebrating the arrival of promising vaccines and the government ambitiously setting out targets to have large swathes of the population vaccinated by the middle of next year, it seems as though plans are in motion for full-scale reopening of spaces without social distancing.

Mackintosh was less enthusiastic about current government policy, in an email to patrons yesterday blasting the new capacity restrictions put in place for indoor stage shows, saying "The financial implications of the Government's new directive have put a massive strain on this production which was, in any event, designed to simply break even under current circumstances. It is now almost certain to make a substantial loss."

Old tier rules, introduced before the most recent nationwide pandemic, made no mention of tier restrictions. Under new guidance, all venues have to have a maximum of either 1000 spectators or 50 per cent of normal capacity – whichever is lower.

An all-star concert production of Les Misérables is due to open in a number of days at the Sondheim Theatre with Alfie Boe, Michael Ball and Carrie Hope Fletcher. The show has extended into February 2021, with more seats on sale.

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