October 30, 2020 at 5:29 PM EDT
The coronavirus keeps most London theaters dark, while performers stock grocery shelves
By Karla Adam and William Booth
LONDON — At the gilded playhouses in the world’s most popular theater district, most of the marquee lights are still dark.
Since the government ordered London’s stages closed seven months ago, only a handful of theaters have dared to announce reopening plans — with limited runs, limited casts and socially distanced audiences scattered in the seats. Producers say ticket sales will barely cover the electricity bill.
The impact of enduring restrictions has been catastrophic for London’s creative class. An estimated 290,000 people work in the theater here — onstage and behind the scenes — and many have had to seek paychecks where they can. Furloughed actors are stocking shelves in grocery stores. Musicians are hammering nails at construction sites.
“This is tough,” said top producer Nica Burns, whose company, Nimax, runs six theaters in London’s West End. “This isn’t just a job. It’s life choice.”
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