Indoor live performances will be able to resume from August 1 with a socially distanced audience, the government has said.
Prime minister Boris Johnson made the announcement during a press briefing today (July 17).
He said: "We will restart indoor performances to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots, and we will also pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadia with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn."
He added: "All of these measures, for August 1, should be done in a Covid-secure way."
Johnson also said it may be "conceivably possible" to move away from social distancing measures such as the one-metre rule by November at the earliest, which will be "entirely conditional on our ability to keep the virus under control".
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is currently working with the sector on pilots of performances which will inform the final guidance for venues.
These will include the London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s in London, with further events to be announced.
The announcement marks the move to Stage 4 of the government’s roadmap for the reopening of theatres, which will allow performances indoors and outdoors, but with a limited distanced audience indoors.
Further measures required of theatres will include:
The guidance is for organisations in England, with organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to adhere to the rules set out by the devolved governments.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The UK’s performing arts sector is renowned across the world and I am pleased that we are making real progress in getting its doors reopened to the public with social distancing.
"From August indoor theatres, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country.
“This is a welcome step in the path to a return to normal and, coupled with our £1.57 billion rescue package, will help secure the future of this important sector."