The Phantom of the Opera has sadly been forced to permanently close after its 34 year run in the West End due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The musical was the second longest-running show lasting from 1986, London theatre fans are feeling the shock of no longer being able to see the show.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing restrictions on theatres in the UK, it has caused major financial impacts causing them to close down. Sir Cameron Mackintosh who is a British theatrical producer and theatre owner, confirmed this.
Sir Cameron is also the producer behind the well-known musical hits of Hamilton and Les Miserables.
The theatres are not the only aspects that have been effected when it comes to productions of The Phantom of the Opera, written by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, as touring of the musical has also come to an unfortunate end due to COVID-19.
It is with great sadness we announce that The Phantom of the Opera UK & Ireland Tour is to close due to COVID-19. Full statement from Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group below. pic.twitter.com/07Y8IvLOlF
— The Phantom Of The Opera (@PhantomOpera) May 27, 2020
Sir Cameron hoped to get his shows back on track by Easter but has confirmed that due to the pandemic and with no support from the government it could be pushed back further into summer, ‘causing further devastating losses to both the theatre industry and London’s economy’.
In the Evening Standard, Sir Cameron said: “When Covid hit, all my eight theatres were packed with hit shows including some of my own.”
“So as by far the largest independent employer in the West End it is not surprising that as both theatre owner and producer, with no outside investors, I’ve taken a huge financial hit.” – Sir Cameron added.
Sir Cameron added: “On top of this, Andrew and I have had to sadly permanently shut down our London and UK touring productions of The Phantom of the Opera, but are determined to bring it back to London in the future.”
With no government support and the ‘impossible constraints of social distancing,’ there cannot be proper plans put into place for ‘whatever the new future is’. So drastic measures had to be taken to ensure that there will be a future for theatres and shows in London.
In June, Sir Cameron said: “The commercial theatre provides billions of pounds of revenue to the economy.” With a report from Oxford Economics predicting that the pandemic would lead to a ‘cultural catastrophe’ with thousands of job losses and a ‘£74billion loss in revenue across the arts industry’.
Andrew Lloyd Webber also previously warned that London’s West End theatres could be bought by Chinese investors. He further warned that without the much-needed funding and a clear timeline for reopening, theatre owners would have no other choice but to put their buildings up for sale.
This is very heartbreaking news for theatre and musical fans. Though there are hopes that The Phantom of the Opera could return in the future, even Andrew Lloyd Webber has said ‘Phantom will reopen as soon as possible.’ –
"As far as I’m concerned Phantom will reopen as soon as is possible" – ALW
— Andrew Lloyd Webber (@OfficialALW) July 29, 2020