Andrew Lloyd Webber has turned down a Government invitation to include his musical Cinderella in the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), claiming that the theatre and music sectors are not being treated fairly.
Webber had promised he would open his theatres on 21 June regardless, and was willing to be arrested for it. He said he would only agree to Cinderella being a test event if it was part of a wider scheme for the whole industry.
The LW Theatres-owner told The Times that he had pulled out of the pilot events scheme after a “long week of government delay and confusion”.
He said, “I have made it crystal clear that I would only be able to participate if others were involved and the rest of the industry — theatre and music — were treated equally. This has not been confirmed to me.
“It has become clear that, while sporting events like Wimbledon had obviously been working with the government for some time on this pilot, and were even able to start selling tickets yesterday, the theatre industry and its audiences is, once again, an afterthought and undervalued.”
Webber said that he had decided not to open Cinderella illegally at full capacity because it meant it would be “very likely that every member of my cast, crew and orchestra, the front and backstage staff, plus our loyal audience members, could be individually fined hundreds of pounds which I couldn’t possibly risk”.
In response to Webber’s withdrawal from the ERP, LIVE CEO Greg Parmley said, “The live music industry has spent months participating and paying for pilot events so we could reopen at full capacity safety. These events were a huge success and show, alongside every other international pilot, that with the right mitigations full capacity live events are safe.
“Despite this the Government has refused to publish this data, forced us to remain closed and then tried to hand-pick a number of high-profile events to go ahead whilst the rest of our industries are devastated.”