Andrew Lloyd Webber says theatre industry is in a 'hopeless' situation
The UK theatre industry finds itself in a "hopeless" scenario, according to Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The 72-year-old composer has urged the government to provide clarity on the issue of reopening, after it was recently announced that indoor performances with socially-distanced audiences can take place in England from the start of August.
He explained: "The average play needs a 65 percent capacity and a musical needs more."
Lloyd Webber also accused the government of inconsistency, observing that people are allowed on a plane and inside pubs while strict restrictions remain in place for theatres.
He told the BBC: "All we want is clarity and consistency."
The musical impresario owns as many as seven West End theatres in London. And he's admitted they're currently costing him as much as £1 million a month to run.
He reflected: "It's a lot of money and we can't do it indefinitely. We've reached our borrowing limits."
Lloyd Webber believes the theatre industry has been low down on the government's list of priorities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But Oliver Dowden, the UK's culture secretary, recently insisted that's not the case, saying the country's performing arts sector was "renowned across the world".
He said: "I am pleased that we are making real progress in getting its doors reopened to the public with social distancing."
Similarly, a government spokesperson explained: "People can already attend performances outdoors and indoor performances to a socially distanced audience can begin from August 1, subject to the success of pilots.
"We have worked closely with the sector on a clear road-map to get performing arts back up and running.
"We have provided detailed guidance to ensure venues can put in place the necessary measures to keep audiences, cast, crew and venue staff safe for when the doors reopen to the public."