West End bouncing back but 'couldn't survive another lockdown' says Lloyd Webber

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Andrew Lloyd Webber said London's West End was showing signs of bouncing back after the financial damage caused by Covid, but theatres could not survive another lockdown.

Speaking to ITV News London the composer and theatre owner said he would back vaccine passports if it meant keeping performances going in future, similar to the way things work in New York.

"Theatres can't survive another lockdown," said Lord Lloyd-Webber.

"What's happening in New York is the way forward which is unless you're double vaccinated you can't do anything, you can't buy a cup of coffee even.

"I've just been in New York doing Phantom Of The Opera there we've got it open and it's working perfectly well.

"People have to show proof of double vaccination when they come into the building it can be easily achieved - as easy as showing your ticket," he added.

Currently in London only a handful of shows ask for proof of a Covid jab.

"If that's what we need to keep theatres open it's a very small price to pay," Lord Lloyd-Webber said.

Andrew Lloyd Webber spoke to ITV News London ahead of a gala performance of his new musical Cinderella to raise money for Malala Yousafzai’s work to empower women and girls.

Proceeds from the performance will go to the Malala Fund, which aims to support the education of girls around the world.

The performance will take place against "the backdrop of a worsening global refugee crisis, which has interrupted the education of millions of young women".

"Malala has got to be one of the most inspirational young women of our time and her family is also incredibly inspirational," Lord Lloyd-Webber said.

"Her father is quite wonderful about the courage he had in keeping women's education going in his own school [with the Taliban arriving]. Music is one of the most empowering things a child can have and when you start hearing about regimes where music is banned I feel you've just got to help.

Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman at the age of 15 after campaigning for girls to be educated in her native Pakistan.

Since recovering from her injuries the Nobel Prize laureate has continued to be a prominent campaigner for the rights of women and girls.

Malala Yousafzai

Lord Lloyd-Webber said the current refugee crisis was not necessarily about economic migrant. "We're talking about people who have been chucked out of their own countries for political reasons and also due to climate change which is causing a refugee crisis of its own," he said. "We can't just close our eyes to this.

"I know Britain is an overcrowded country, I know our health services are stretched but we can't just say it's not happening.

No refugee wants to leave their home country unless they're economic migrants. I think people who are genuine refugees from regimes that are persecuting them. we have to welcome them because we know those people would actually prefer to be at home," he added.