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Prime Minister to confirm today that English theatres can reopen on 17 May

Shows will have social distancing in place for the time being

The cast of Six
© Pamela Raith

National newspapers have today confirmed the plans for theatres to reopen with social distancing in place.

Outlets were briefed on the plans overnight, with the 17 May date now set in stone. The Prime Minister will address the national later today to confirm the plans to move to "step three" in the roadmap to reopening.

This means that live performances will be able to commence on the previously projected date unveiled in February, due to a significant drop in cases and a speedy vaccine roll-out (two thirds of UK adults have had one doses with a third now fully vaccinated).

From next Monday, socially distanced performances will be permitted, with risk mitigation measures in place such as reduced capacity, face coverings, staggered entry times, temperature checks, increased ventilation and cleaning between shows. Casts and crews are frequently checked to make sure they are Covid-free.

The Prime Minister said in statements released overnight: "The roadmap remains on track, our successful vaccination programme continues – more than two-thirds of adults in the UK have now had the first vaccine – and we can now look forward to unlocking cautiously but irreversibly."

See which shows are scheduled to open as early as possible here

As for full reopening at capacity, this is currently set for June – though will depend on the success of the ongoing pilot events taking place across major English cities. Find out more in our guide to reopening here.

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