Bectu trade union has reported that redundancies made by Cameron Mackintosh’s two UK theatre firms are set to surpass 850.

Mackintosh, the producer of West End theatres shows including Les Misérables and Hamilton, instructed staff of the redundancies over the weekend, but has not revealed exact numbers.

However, Bectu, which represents workers in the entertainment industries, said Delfont Mackintosh group will cut 669 employees and Cameron Mackintosh Ltd will cut 185 jobs.

The head of Bectu, Philippa Childs, said it had included the numbers in its most recent tally of 5,000 job losses across the wider theatre industry, which increased by 200 over one month.

She said, according to the Guardian: “The situation has definitely been forced upon the industry by both the pandemic and a government unwilling to understand the disastrous predicament of theatres unable to reopen safely or viably with social distancing restrictions.

“The entire industry has been shocked by Cameron Mackintosh’s unwillingness to use the coronavirus job retention scheme in full or deploy resources beyond the furlough months to support his backstage and front of house staff.

“Other West End employers have done their utmost to find creative ways to safeguard the livelihoods of their staff and pursue the bigger mission of saving the world class skills and talents critical to the success of theatres up and down the country.

“There are extremely limited options for theatre workers to find employment at the moment and we continue to urge employers to take a holistic approach and retain talent wherever they can.”

A spokesperson for Cameron Mackintosh Limited and Delfont Mackintosh Theatres said: “It is a very sad time for everyone affected by this thankless situation, one we could never have imagined would have been forced upon the industry.”

Billionaire Mackintosh, who has produced a strong series of hits in London and New York City over the last five decades, has been vocal about rejecting the notion of reopening under social distancing rules. He previously complained that there has been no “tangible, practical support” from the government “beyond offers to go into debt”.

Delfont Mackintosh Theatres operates eight theatres which are Gielgud, Noël Coward, Novello, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, Sondheim (formally Queen’s), Victoria Palace and Wyndham’s.

Dubai comedy show

Comedian Jimmy Carr sold out three shows at Dubai’s World Trade Center, each with the maximum socially distanced attendance of over 1,400.

The initial two shows, promoted by DXB Laughs, the comedy brand of UAE promoter and marketing agency Done Events, saw demand exceed the ticket supply for August 13 and 14.

The promoter opted to add another date due to the popularity of the comedian’s first appearance in the United Arab Emirates.

Balcony seats were priced at AED195 ($53) with both Floor & Grandstand seats priced at AED295.

All Done Events team members reportedly took COVID-19 tests on site on the first day of build and received results within 24 hours. Guests also had their temperature checked upon arrival into the Dubai World Trade Centre’s largest hall.

Visitors entered through different entrances depending on their tickets and queuing systems were used to indicate the correct distances were in place at all entrances and F&B areas.

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort has announced it will move to a date-based ticketing system.

The new system offers varied ticket prices for guests planning their vacations, much like Walt Disney World’s dynamic ticket programme.

A ticket at peak times will be more expensive than the same ticket during a less popular time of the year.

Visitors will be able to modify their dates after purchase through the “Guest Self Service” feature in the Universal Orlando mobile app, and can exchange for dates that are at an equal or lower price without being charged an extra amount.

For a date change that involves a higher price point, guests will have to pay the difference prior to visiting the parks, otherwise, the tickets are non-refundable.

Another option for guests that cannot choose a specific day is the flex ticket option, which is valid for one year after printed or electronically generated.

Image: Andreas Praefcke /  CC BY 3.0  / Edited for size