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Artists launch live-streamed theatre show to combat venue closures

Theatres in the West End and around the UK have been shuttered due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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All The Web’s A Stage will take place throughout Shakespeare Day on April 23 (ATWAS/PA)

All The Web’s A Stage will take place throughout Shakespeare Day on April 23 (ATWAS/PA)

All The Web’s A Stage will take place throughout Shakespeare Day on April 23 (ATWAS/PA)

More than 50 actors and artists are to host a live-streamed theatre event in response to the closures affecting the industry.

Money raised from the show, called All The Web’s A Stage, will fund those in the arts facing hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Theatres in the West End and around the UK closed on Monday night in line with advice from the Government on mass gatherings.

The production will take place throughout Shakespeare Day, April 23, and will feature cabaret, comedy, dance and theatre.

Danny Mac (Joseph Sinclair/PA)

Danny Mac, Tom Milner, Jodie Prenger and La Voix have signed up, with more names to be announced.

Although the performance will be free, there will be an opportunity to make donations.

Former Hollyoaks actor Mac said: “At this moment of worldwide crisis, many of our colleagues in the arts are facing severe hardships as their jobs literally disappear.

“It’s so important the industry comes together to support each other, and this feels such a fitting way to raise money for those in need and allow audiences to continue enjoying live performance.”

The event’s co-producer Paul Virides said the theatre world faces “unprecedented times” and “huge challenges” but added: “Across the UK artists have been coming up with ingenious ways to stay connected and support each other during this time.”

EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwaite shared a message of hope on Twitter.

She told her 223,000 followers: “In theatre we have a tradition – whenever the theatre is empty, we are always sure to leave one light on. Typically on a stand in the centre of the stage, this light is known as the ghost light.

“There are many stories about its origin – but its meaning is unmistakable. It means though the theatre is empty, WE WILL RETURN.”

She added: “Many of us have taken big hits during this virus. Financial and emotional weights have come crashing down as our entire industry is reduced to nothing but a bunch of ghost lights.

“But those ghost lights are temporary place holders. They are a sign. We might be down now – but our passion, our creativity, our drive is still centre stage.”

The team behind the West End musical & Juliet, which has suspended performances at Shaftesbury theatre, promised to “ROAR again”.

A statement on Twitter said: “The love and support we’ve felt over the last few days have been indescribable.

“To the people donating to our industry and exchanging tickets instead of seeking refunds, thank you.

“To our friends all across the West End and beyond, we’re here for you. We will ROAR again!”

However, the Michael Jackson musical, Thriller – Live, announced it was closing early in London following an 11-year run.

The show was due to end on April 28 at the Lyric theatre but brought forward its end date due to the outbreak.

A statement from the producers said: “We would like to thank everyone who has worked on the show; the cast, band, crew, creative team, head office, freelance contributors and theatre staff past and present. We have the BEST team in the world.

“We’ve loved sharing the music and magic of MJ in London and we will keep the legacy alive on tour. Finally a MASSIVE thanks to all you Dancing Machines, we just can’t stop loving you.”

PA