The show MUST go on: It’s time to raise the curtain on our theatres again, ministers are told 

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MPs last night demanded robust action to prevent the culture and sporting sectors from collapse.

The Commons culture select committee urged ministers to use the pause created by the latest Covid-19 restrictions to take steps to enable venues and stadiums to plan a return of audiences to full capacity when it is safe to do so.

Many theatres and venues have been unable to reopen because the requirements of social distancing have made it financially unviable to do so. 

Actress Denise van Outen, 46, (pictured) has been performing her show Cabaret All Stars in socially distanced performances at the Proud Embankment venue in London

Actress Denise van Outen, 46, (pictured) has been performing her show Cabaret All Stars in socially distanced performances at the Proud Embankment venue in London

Restrictions mean audience members must sit in groups of no more than six.

Further closures of arts venues and organisations are expected in the coming weeks. 

Theatre producer and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has spoken of the arts sector having reached ‘a point of no return’.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, 72, said the industry must be given a bailout to ensure its survival.

It comes as those theatres that have been able to open have had to make adjustments.

Actress Denise van Outen, 46, has been performing her show Cabaret All Stars in socially distanced performances at the Proud Embankment venue in London. 

Audience members sit at carefully spaced tables and must leave one at a time after the performance.

Theatre producer and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (pictured) has spoken of the arts sector having reached 'a point of no return'

Theatre producer and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (pictured) has spoken of the arts sector having reached ‘a point of no return’

Julian Knight, chairman of the committee, said: ‘We recognise that rising cases of Covid-19 mean that plans for a limited return of crowds to sporting events have to be put on hold.

‘However, this has created an opportunity for ministers to develop a robust strategy that will allow for the safe return of audiences to events – particularly in our theatres and performance venues – when the time is right.’

Mr Knight added: ‘We know that without the ability to get in audiences in greater numbers, many theatres simply can’t afford to keep running.’

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