Michael Ball '100% backs' vaccine passports to bring audiences back to the West End

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Michael Ball said he would '100% back' the idea of vaccine passports if it meant theatres desperate to reopen their doors could perform to full capacity.

The singer started rehearsals a year ago for the musical Hairspray but came to an abrupt halt because of the Covid pandemic.

"I managed two days of rehearsal," Michael said. "It's difficult to over-emphasize how hard this has been, not just on people working in the theatre, but on the surrounding areas as well," he added.

Michael said West End theatre brought a billion pounds in revenue to the heart of London, which meant restaurants and bars felt the impact of the shutdown too.

An empty Shaftesbury Avenue in London's West End

"The area, it's spooky, it's quiet - it's [normally] the heartbeat of London," he said - adding that vaccine passports were the best path back to normality.

"I'm 100% for it. If someone chooses not to have the vaccine it's entirely their prerogative. But it is entirely the prerogative of the restaurant owner, pub owner, theatre owner to not accept their business," Michael said.

Theatres will be among the last venues to reopen under the government's roadmap with two thirds of workers considering quitting for good.

However Michael Ball said he was "appalled and offended" by a government campaign which urged people to find new opportunities.

Government 'reskill' campaign advert Credit: HM Government

"It was just a bad look and it's negating somebody's whole life choice career. So many friends of mine who work in the theatre who are self employed and haven't been able to get any help and support have had to go and work in supermarkets or delivery drivers to keep themselves and their families going until they can get work again," he said.

Michael said he hoped everyone would return to the industry which would, he also hoped, soon be "back for good."