The new musical was in previews last week but had to cancel both performances on Saturday after one performer tested positive for the coronavirus. Subsequently, everyone attending this evening’s press opening had been advised they needed to bring the results of a negative lateral flow test to be admitted for the performance. In the last hour, Sir Andrew released a new statement announcing that the show would not be going ahead this evening, with no indication of when, or if, it will return in the future. READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW
The show had originally been slated to premiere on July 14, when reduced capacity audiences were still enforced.
Sir Andrew publicly rejected and rebuked a government offer to include Cinderella in a pilot scheme for increased capacity audiences that also included events like Wimbledon. He moved the opening night to July 19, the so-called “Freedom Day” when restrictions were lifted and theatres would be able to welcome full-capacity audiences back for the first time since early 2020.
However, the current government guidelines on track and trace and self-isolation have meant that many current theatre productions have been hit by sudden closures as one or more cast or crew member tests positive, resulting in countless others having to self-isolate.
In the past week, musicals The Prince of Egypt and Hairspray, along with Simon Russell Beale’s new play Bach & Sons, have all been forced to cancel up to ten days of performances.
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ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER CINDERELLA STATEMENT:
Today, on this “Freedom Day”, I have been forced to take the heart-breaking decision not to open my Cinderella.
At Cinderella, from the outset, we have employed a rigorous testing system for all the cast and backstage crew before they begin work. On Saturday, as part of this process, we identified one positive case in a member of our cast who has a cameo role in the show. As a precautionary measure, we cancelled two shows on Saturday while we carried out further tests on everyone backstage, which were negative. Any of those who were identified as a close contact of the positive case were given additional PCR tests. These tests too were negative. This morning we carried out additional tests on those due to perform tonight. Every one of them was negative.
Despite this, the impossible conditions created by the blunt instrument that is the Government’s isolation guidance, mean that we cannot continue. We have been forced into a devastating decision which will affect the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of people and disappoint the thousands who have booked to see the show.
Cinderella was ready to go. My sadness for our cast and crew, our loyal audience and the industry I have been fighting for is impossible to put into words.
Freedom Day has turned into closure day.
With the theatre and live entertainment industries still trying to get back on their feet after a crippling past 18 months, the latest round of closures is devastating.
Many shows, such as Hairspray and Bach & Sons have only been scheduled for short limited runs, so any loss of performances is even more damaging.
With positive tests prompting immediate cancellations of shows, theatres have been forced to contact audience members at short notice, offering full refunds or alternate dates.
All performances for Cinderella this week have now been cancelled with the future looking very uncertain.
A spokesperson told Express Online: “It’s hard to see a route forward under the current rules, but we will do everything we can to come back.”
ANDREW LLOYD-WEBBER’S CINDERELLA OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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