Theatre News

Andrew Lloyd Webber gives more information about his new pilot performances at The London Palladium

Lloyd Webber will be doing pilot performances this week with socially distanced audiences, but hopes for more

Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Composer and venue owner Andrew Lloyd Webber has revealed further plans for how he intends to run trial performances at The London Palladium, scheduled to take place this week.

The trial performances are part of "pilots" announced by the Government last week, to measure the success of socially distanced indoor shows ahead of a 1 August return date.

Within the interview with the BBC, Lloyd Webber showed off temperature scanners which matched faces with readings, to highlight anyone who may be ill. Secondly, he also has a special piece of kit "imported from Korea, where the theatres are open and full. It sprays you."

It has been confirmed that Beverley Knight will be performing live on Thursday as a test

The machine, which looks like something out of an '80s Doctor Who episode, certainly seemed to blast BBC presenter Will Gompertz with a sizeable amount of anti-viral spray. The Palladium owner describes it as "very theatrical".

Read about the Culture Secretary's plans to test live indoor shows

While the trials on Thursday are to be socially distanced, Lloyd Webber is keen to test scenarios where venues are at full capacity: "Theatre can't run with social distancing. It's just not economically possible. The average play needs a 65 per cent capacity, while the average musical needs more. That's before it even starts to repay anything.

"We need to get to a pilot where we don't need social distancing, which is why we've put all of these measures in at the Palladium. It's not to prove, and I must stress this, that the Palladium can work, it's to prove that every venue can work. With very basic measures it is possible to reopen venues and concert halls.

"We have to rely on having the most stringent measures backstage…My view is that everyone should be tested daily."

Read more about the government's guidelines for reopening