Producer Cameron Mackintosh Slams British Government For Offering Theaters No “Practical Support”, Says West End ‘Hamilton’, ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ Won’t Reopen This Year

Her Majesty's Theatre, home of 'Phantom of the Opera,' London Shutterstock

Blasting the British government for what he says has been “no tangible practical support,” producer Cameron Mackintosh says his company’s West End productions of Hamilton, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins and Les Miserables won’t reopen until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This decision is heart-breaking for me,” Mackintosh said in a statement, “as I am sure it is for my employees, as everyone who has worked with me over the last 50 years, on or off the stage, knows how much I care about what I do and how I do it.”

See the complete statement below.

Mackintosh, along with Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, attributed the decision to the Boris Johnson-headed government’s “inability to say when the impossible constraints of social distancing will be lifted.” The producer suggested that the “desperate pleas” from the theater industry have gone unheeded, and that “so far there has been no tangible practical support” from the government “beyond offers to go into debt which I don’t want to do.”

Cameron Mackintosh Shutterstock

Mackintosh says the “drastic steps” of keeping his shows closed this year will help “ensure that I have the resources for my business to survive and enable my shows and theatres to reopen next year when we are permitted to.”

Following Mackintosh’s statement, British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden tweeted, “I know how essential our theatres, our musicians and the performing arts are to our cultural ecosystem…I am in no doubt the best thing we can do is push for its renewal & recovery…

“I want to get performers back performing. It is clear we need greater flexibility to overcome some of the very specific & practical obstacles to the return of live performance.So I’m convening medical & arts experts to work through these for theatre, choirs & orchestras.”

According to Mackintosh, his productions are entirely self-financed. “I have no investors or venture capital backing, everything is funded by me personally and already my companies’ considerable reserves have been massively reduced by the complete closure of our industry everywhere.”

The production company’s website says the musicals will return “as early as practical next year,” and that even after social distancing requirements have been lifted the reopening process could involve an additional several months of preparation.

Broadway productions are officially closed until September, though another extension of the shutdown is generally expected, possibly through the end of 2020.

Here is Mackintosh’s complete statement:

This decision is heart-breaking for me, as I am sure it is for my employees, as everyone who has worked with me over the last 50 years, on or off the stage, knows how much I care about what I do and how I do it.

Despite the government engaging with the desperate pleas from everyone in the theatre industry, so far there has been no tangible practical support beyond offers to go into debt which I don’t want to do. Their inability to say when the impossible constraints of social distancing will be lifted makes it equally impossible for us to properly plan for whatever the new future is. This has forced me to take drastic steps to ensure that I have the resources for my business to survive and enable my shows and theatres to reopen next year when we are permitted to. I have no investors or venture capital backing, everything is funded by me personally and already my companies’ considerable reserves have been massively reduced by the complete closure of our industry everywhere.

Everything I have made has come from the theatre and everything I have has gone back into these magnificent historic buildings that I have lovingly restored and the spectacular productions I have painstakingly insisted remain in tip top shape wherever they play in the world – resulting in my being one of the biggest employers in the theatre. The commercial theatre provides billions of pounds of revenue to the Economy. It is time this is recognised and the government takes action to ensure this priceless resource at which the British people excel is helped to survive. Without our theatres being ablaze with life, London cannot properly reopen as one of the World’s greatest cities.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/06/cameron-mackintosh-london-hamilton-phantom-of-the-opera-coronavirus-shutdown-reopening-british-government-1202961685/