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National Theatre says it hopes to 'resume performances as soon as possible' after roadmap news

The venue has commented on the most recent roadmap

National Theatre
© David Samuel, User:Hellodavey1902 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The National Theatre has said it "remains committed to resuming performances as soon as possible" with social distancing, after Monday's roadmap announcement.

The venue was quick to highlight that "socially distanced performances are not sustainable in the medium term for the NT", and that they are also "impossible for many theatres up and down the country."

The Thameside venue added that it was dedicated "to employ members of our freelance community and to welcome back audiences who have always supported the National Theatre throughout this closure period."

Last year the National premiered two new shows in a reconfigured Olivier space, only for each production to be shut down mere days later due to the pandemic. The pair of shows were then streamed for online viewers. A socially distanced version of The Normal Heart, originally set to open this month, never confirmed run dates or full casting.

The National also emphasised that "progress by the government's Events Research Programme will be crucial because a clear route to performing without social distancing is needed." The programme was announced earlier this week and is expected to investigate the possibility of non-socially distanced performances as well as risk mitigation measures such as "Covid status certifications" and rapid testing. Further information on the programme is to be released this Spring.

Many venues have already committed to dates, with Oxford Playhouse revealing yesterday that it intends to open in May, while Nimax's Nica Burns has pledged to open all six of her West End venues at the earliest opportunity.

Even before the roadmap's announcement, Shakespeare's Globe had already expressed a desire to reopen with executive director Neil Constable saying, as part of an open letter asking for a reopening of outdoor venues, that: "we want to make that financial commitment to bring freelancers back into the building and get productions ready."

Chair of the Board, Margaret Casely-Hayford told Newsnight earlier this month that audiences should expect: "no interval so we can avoid queuing, safe spaces, hand sanitisers and so on, so that audiences feel as comfortable as possible. This is a great opportunity for us to begin rehearsals in March before opening up in the summer."

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