The Old Vic has cancelled remaining performances of Endgame as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, meaning the show will end its run two weeks early.
The theatre was the first major London venue to halt performances amid the virus’ spread, arguing that the current situation means it is becoming “increasingly impractical to sustain business as usual”.
It was followed shortly after by London theatres the Arcola and the Turbine, which both said they would be suspending performances immediately.
Whilst we have no reason to disagree with current scientific and government advice on coping with the Coronavirus, given the new travel and other restrictions in place it is nevertheless becoming increasingly impractical to sustain business as usual at our theatre (1 of 3)— The Old Vic (@oldvictheatre) March 15, 2020
“It is with great sadness that we have had to decide to suspend the presentation of Endgame for the next two weeks, which is the remainder of its run. All other performances are currently scheduled to go ahead as planned.
“The Old Vic operates in an unusual way for a non-commercial theatre in that it has no Arts Council support. Instead it is completely dependent on philanthropic donations sponsorship and ticket sales. We now need your help more than ever.”
The theatre said losing ticket revenue for Endgame, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming, would be “financially devastating”, and asked ticket holders to consider donating the cost of their seat instead of asking for a refund in exchange for a digital version of the performance.
“For those who donate, we are able to offer a link to an exclusive video recording of the entire production of Endgame, captured earlier in the run, a private video message of appreciation from the cast, and a free Friends membership entitling you to priority booking valid for one year,” the theatre said.
The Arcola, in Dalston, said in a statement that it did not believe it “practical or responsible to stage shows while people’s lives are at risk”.
It will stop all public performances until further notice, but warned that the impact of coronavirus represented a critical threat to its future.
“Without these performances, the vast majority of our income is gone.
“We are determined to survive, to retain our dedicated team, and to get our shows back on track as soon as possible. So we need your help urgently. Arcola Theatre is a registered charity, and any donation – large or small – will ensure that our theatre stays thriving, long after this crisis is past,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Turbine Theatre’s artistic director Paul Taylor-Mills said all performances until April 18 would be cancelled.
“We take the health and safety of our staff, performers and indeed audiences very seriously at the Turbine Theatre. With this in mind we’ve taken the difficult but necessary decision to cancel all performances from Mon 16 March until Sat 18 April.
“We will monitor the global situation closely and make a decision at a later date if we need to cancel further performances,” he said, adding that the theatre hoped the reprogram cancelled productions where possible.
For all the latest updates on the coronavirus crisis, click here.
16/3/20 This story was updated to include new information about the Old Vic and other theatres with cancelled performances.