Theatre News

Long-running West End shows start scheduling Sunday performances for post-Covid return

Producers aim to fill weekends, which may be more practical for audience members

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera
© Johan Persson

A variety of West End productions are moving further towards Sunday performances for the short-term.

From an examination of booking schedules, the likes of The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, Hamilton, and more have all filled up both weekend days. For the likes of Phantom or Hamilton, this is a departure to pre-Covid schedules.

The move makes sense after a renegotiated West End agreement, created alongside Equity and voted through in October 2020, stipulated that "Sunday Pay" (usually given to creatives in shows being performed that day), was to be scrapped until spring 2022 at the earliest.

Some shows, such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella, Life of Pi, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Mary Poppins and Six, already had Sunday performances in place before the pandemic struck.

There are further performances at Be More Chill, Constellations, Doctor Who, Jersey Boys and The Lion King.

Sunday matinees or afternoon performances give audiences the chance to travel into London and leave at a more leisurely pace and time, rather than having to battle against the capital's evening commute. The family-friendly time may also make sense for those not wanting to keep children out late – or having to employ babysitters – though it may make it trickier for performers or stage managers with parenting commitments who would want to align their days off with the weekends.

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