Nimax Theatres will open all six West End theatres in sequence from 22 October 2020 with social distancing under Covid-19 secure government guidelines. The special season will beginning at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue with This is Going to Hurt, written and performed by ex-NHS doctor Adam Kay.
Nimax chief executive Nica Burns said: “On the six-month anniversary of the last performance in the West End I am delighted to announce that we will be switching on all our lights and re-opening with a special season of fantastic entertainment. First up from 22 October to 8 November at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue is This is Going to Hurt written and performed by ex-NHS doctor Adam Kay. His first performance on 22 October is a free performance for NHS staff only. Tickets are on sale now at www.nimaxtheatres.com as is registration for NHS staff to enter the ballot for their free performance.
“Our programme of special shows will reopen each of our six theatres prior to the return of our brilliant long running shows. Details of this special season of shows will be announced over the next fortnight.”
Burns explained that the biggest show on hold, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, would definitely return once social distancing had ended and the Palace Theatre could play to full capacity. Also returning will be Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Apollo Theatre), Magic Goes Wrong (Vaudeville Theatre) and The Play That Goes Wrong (Duchess Theatre).
For the special season, the theatres will open with social distancing plus robust risk mitigation to comply with current government Covid-19 secure guidelines.
Burns continued: “Although with reduced capacities it is not possible to make a profit, we will be earning a contribution to our costs. With the furlough support scheme ending on 31 October, this income will help us retain Nimax’s highly skilled, experienced workforce and give work to some of the talented tapestry of freelancers onstage and backstage. We will also be able to support some of the many teams and businesses which together give our audiences a night to remember. Our theatre community cannot wait to get back to work safely.
“As culture secretary Oliver Dowden wrote this week, ‘…theatre is a lynchpin of London’s West End and its absence is painfully reflected in its deserted streets’. Even with reduced capacities at our theatres, we can entertain over 20,000 customers a week who we hope will re-energise the beating heart of our city, particularly the cafes, bars and restaurants that are an essential part of the fabric of the West End. Ticket sales for those venues that have managed to open so far, both outdoor and indoor, have been strong and we cannot wait to welcome audiences back safely.”
Adam Kay, writer and performer of the first show in the season, said:
“It’s extremely heartening that Theatreland is starting to gear up again. The people you see on stage are the very tip of the theatre iceberg – behind the scenes are hundreds of hard-working staff – from electricians to stage managers to lighting techs to box office to carpenters – huge numbers of whom fell between the gaps of government support. I’m very proud to return to the West End, following the extraordinary efforts of Nimax to do so in a way that’s safe for staff and theatregoers alike, and doubly proud to open the run with a free show for NHS staff, who can clearly do with a night out more than anyone.”