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Curtains drop on West End shows due to Omicron variant

London’s West End is continuing to be affected by the spread of the Omicron variant, after almost half of the capital’s major theatres had to cancel performances because of Covid infections. 

Of the 46 full members of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) that had planned to perform shows at the weekend, 22 were forced to cancel.

This included major hits such as Hamilton, Matilda, Wicked, The Lion King, Cinderella, Cabaret and Come From Away. 

Producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh told the BBC: “It’s literally day-to-day. We spend all morning trying to work out if we can do the show or not. The important thing is, when we do it, it is safe, and the public have been remarkable in that they are, in our experience, turning up mostly to the shows.” 

The National Theatre in London has been forced to cancel its performances of Hex and Trouble in Mind until 4 and 5 of January next year. 

A statement said: “Sadly, owing to extensive Covid disruption affecting performers and staff, we’ve taken the difficult decision to cancel further National Theatre performances, and close our South Bank building.”

Ticket holders for the affected performances have been contacted. 

The statement added: “We’re very sorry for the disappointment, and we hope that this short break will support a smooth and safe return in January.” 

English Premier League clubs are also thinking ahead should restrictions be put in place in the country, similar to those just imposed in Wales. All sport in Wales from 26 December will be played behind closed doors. 

Everton will reintroduce the same ticketing model it used last season, if the government forces clubs to host a reduced capacity crowd. 

The process included season ticket holders first being offered the opportunity to register their interest in attending games, followed by a random ballot that would allocate tickets to those who registered. Once a supporter has been successful in a ballot, they are then taken out to allow unsuccessful fans a chance of securing a ticket for another game. 

On the ticketing system, Paul McNicholas, Everton’s director of risk and governance, told the Liverpool Echo: “That worked really well during the limited return of spectators about a year ago and that is something that we would probably do again if we had to, but obviously it is not something that we would want to do if we could help it.”

Everton has also already had a Premier League game cancelled against Leicester City, due to a rise in coronavirus cases at Leicester.

Image: Kyle Head on Unsplash