Theatre News

Les Misérables: 'We're working hard to assess the impact of the Government's latest statement'

The show has issued a statement ahead of its upcoming all-star run

The Sondheim Theatre (right) and the Gielgud Theatre
The Sondheim Theatre (right) and the Gielgud Theatre
(© WhatsOnStage)
The West End production of Les MIsérables has issued a statement in response to today's new rules regarding theatre capacities and the forthcoming tier systems in England.

The show is scheduled to begin a sold-out all-star concert run at the Sondheim Theatre in early December, beginning after the national lockdown restrictions are set to end. Appearing in the piece will be Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Shan Ako and many more.

However, today's set of revelations around restrictions after 2 December have created a two-pronged problem for producers and venue owners, including those overseeing Les Mis.

Under the new rules, venues in tier three (the high alert areas where risk of infection is at its greatest) are unable to reopen, while those in tiers one and two are able to reopen but are subject to new capacity caps (either 1000 people or 50 per cent of attendance – whichever is lowest). No such capacity restrictions existed during the earlier tier rules, while venues in tier three were able to stay open unless ordered to close by local authorities.

As such, even if theatres are in tiers one and two are able to reopen, they may have to change seating arrangements to suit these new capacity needs. As stated by the Julian Bird, chief executive of Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre and said: "The capacity constraints in tiers one and two will lead to financial problems for venues and disappointment for audiences. It is unclear why these have been instituted in a sector with no known spread of the virus."

The Les Mis production has advised any ticket holders to be patient while the production works out what the best options are – as it had stood, the show was set to play to a capacity of 750 socially distanced punters in a 1074-seater venue each night. It is likely that other venues across England are facing similar issues.

An extra spanner for show organisers – the lockdown status will be reviewed every two weeks – so some areas may slip from tier two into tier three with little notice.

— Les Misérables (@lesmisofficial) November 23, 2020

The key for any ticket holders right now is to remain patient – venues and organisations know about as much as audiences do and few matters can be resolved until it is confirmed which parts of the country are in which tier – with that news coming on Thursday. After that, expect a flurry of new information and, potentially, updated ticket details.

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