1. ITV Report

Theatre industry reacts to PM's advice to 'stay away'

The region's theatre industry has reacted following the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday about coronavirus and how to stay safe.

Boris Johnson warned members of the public to avoid visiting theatres, bars and restaurants. Since then, some of our region's theatres have closed or suspended shows.

Theatre Royal in Newcastle Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Theatre Royal in Newcastle is cancelling all performances until 12 April 2020. In a statement, management said:

"We will continue to review the situation and advise in due course if we will be closed beyond that date.

Customers who have tickets for performances up to and including 12 April will automatically receive an email or letter from us offering a refund or credit note.

We greatly appreciate the support of our audiences at this testing and anxious time. It is a fast-moving situation; we are monitoring it closely and will keep you posted. We are hopeful that things will get back to normal soon and we hope to see you return in the not too distant future."

The Sage Gateshead Credit: PA
  • The Sage Gateshead is now also closed to the public.

Abigail Pogson, the Managing Director, said:

"The health and safety of audiences, musicians and staff at Sage Gateshead is our priority.

This means that upcoming concerts and classes (including concerts and education programmes delivered outside of the venue) will not take place until further notice. We hope that many will be rescheduled for future dates.

Alongside our loyal audiences, our staff and musicians are the lifeblood of Sage Gateshead - without them we wouldn’t exist. This suspension of activity will impact not only our audience but also our committed and talented workforce. We will work within the government guidelines to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our team and musicians during this difficult time."

Darlington Hippodrome Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
  • Darlington Hippodrome is also closed.

"Darlington Hippodrome has taken the difficult decision that forthcoming performances will not go ahead until further notice and the venue will be closed. We will automatically refund all customers for cancelled performances.

We thank you for your co-operation during this difficult and unsettling time, and wish everyone the best of health."

The Sunderland Empire Theatre is temporarily closed as is the Customs House in South Shields.

The Alnwick Playhouse quoted William Shakespeare as they told customers about their plans.

"The course of true love never did run smooth." William Shakespeare - Romeo & Juliet

We love our Playhouse and just when we got the building up and running again, we are now faced with closure due to Covid-19 virus. Today we are in discussion with Northumberland County Council, McKennas, Queens Hall, Hexham and The Maltings, Berwick to plan our next steps. However closure is moving closer and as the Playhouse receives only 8% public funding, we are reliant on tickets sales and secondary spend, so there are difficult times ahead."

– Alnwick Playhouse statement

Meanwhile, ODEON cinemas announced all of their cinemas across the UK were closing following guidance from the Prime Minister on Monday.

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Cineworld, which has a number of screens across the ITV Tyne Tees region, has also announced it is closing until further notice.

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