Coronavirus: Hampstead Theatre shuts following Government’s announcement
'Box office income critical to our survival', says statement
17 March, 2020 — By Tom Foot
HAMPSTEAD Theatre has shut following the Government’s bombshell health advice yesterday (Monday).
A statement from the celebrated off-West End theatre, in Swiss Cottage, said it made the decision with “great sadness” in the “light of yesterday’s official comments”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had urged the nation to “avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues” because of coronavirus.
The current Hampstead Classics programme – including Harold Pinter’s classic The Dumb Waiter – has been postponed with refunds or credit notes to be made available.
The statement warned the box office income was “critical to our survival”, adding: “We have been closely monitoring government advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and, in the light of yesterday’s official comments, the presentation of the Hampstead Classics and Downstairs season is suspended, until further notice.
“It is with great sadness that we have made this decision, but the welfare of our audiences, staff and artists is of paramount importance to us. We regret any disappointment caused, and we are committed to presenting this season at a later date, to be confirmed in due course. We will also be closing the Hampstead Theatre building to the public.”
It added: “Our commitment involves supporting and nurturing playwrights, directors, designers and actors, as well as encouraging young audiences by offering highly-subsidised tickets.”
On Friday, the New Journal rang 15 theatres in Camden and Islington and was told by all of them that shows were continuing as planned. There many fringe theatres receive no funding and depend on box office bookings for survival.
The Kiln, formerly the Tricycle, has already cancelled all of its shows until March 21 after a cast member went into self isolation.