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Indoor theatre in England can begin from 15 August, government confirms

The move to permit socially distanced indoor theatre was delayed by two weeks after an initial 1 August date


Indoor theatre with social distancing can offically begin again from 15 August, the government has confirmed.

According to new guidance given by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, indoor shows with social distancing measures will have the green light from Saturday, though it is likely that most venues will still find it financially impossible to do so.

Johnson also warned that the government "will not hesitate to put on the brakes if required, or to continue to implement local measures to help to control the spread of the virus". Easing measures will not yet apply in areas of England which are under additional restrictions because of high infection rates.

The return of indoor performances counts as stage four of Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden's reopening plan, though it is unlikely that stage five will occur before November, according to a recent interview. As a result, many theatres have had to cancel their festive shows while uncertainty remains.

The news means indoor socially distanced shows, including the Bridge Theatre's new season, the Southwark Playhouse revival of The Last Five Years and the world premiere of the Sleepless musical, based on Sleepless in Seattle, as well as The Mousetrap in the West End.

Rules for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are being implemented separately.

Find out more about the guidelines that will be put in place for performances