Royal Opera House Faces Closure, Calls for Government Aid & New Social Distancing Guidelines

By Logan Martell

Faced with the ongoing lockdown due to the coronavirus, the Royal Opera House is in dire financial straits, according to chief executive Alex Beard.

Speaking at a virtual summit of industry leaders in West End, Beard cautioned that the venue may not last beyond autumn unless there is a significant change in the support the organization receives from the government, as well as social distancing measures.

Other venues, such as the Royal Albert Hall, have expressed a similar predicament, saying that current circumstances would force them to close by April of next year.

Theatre industry heads have proposed a short set of guidelines in order to best help their process of recovery and eventually reopening. The four guidelines are: the introduction of alternative methods of illness prevention, such as stricter cleaning regimens, and heat testing; the use of social distancing as only a temporary solution as other options are explored; investment in the industry in the form of art bonds, which companies would pay back a share of profits when able to; and the announcement of a timetable to bring performances back in time for the holiday season.

“In times of adversity we need the arts more than ever to inspire us and speak to the heart of our shared experience,” says Beard. “Put simply: without further government support, our theatres will close, the arts will shrink and a generation of talent could be lost to history.”