Dark for a year, Broadway theatres to start limited reopening in April


People walk by Broadway posters near Times Square as theatres across New York will start to reopen in April for special events in front of limited indoor audiences. Photo: AFP

Broadway theatres, closed for a year, will start to reopen in April for special events in front of limited indoor audiences, authorities in New York said recently.

The NY PopsUp programme will serve as a test run for the return of live artistic performances in New York City after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered plays, ballet, opera and concerts in the city.

"In April, select Broadway theatres ... will open their doors to audiences for the first time since March 12, 2020, with a series of special NY PopsUp programmes," organisers said in a statement.

The initiative will "put in motion safety protocols that will eventually be employed for Broadway’s return."

New York officials said that event spaces could reopen at one-third of their capacity, or 100 people indoors, starting on April 2. Testing, masks and social distancing will be required.

A handful of off-Broadway venues with flexible performance spaces will be also be adapted for socially distanced arts events and start opening in April.

"The reopening of these venues will provide the much needed light at the end of this long, dark tunnel," Sade Lythcott, chief executive of the National Black Theatre, said in a statement.

Thousands of actors, dancers, musicians and backstage crew were thrown out of work when Broadway theatres closed. The target date for reopening is currently June 1, although that date may slip. Some shows, including the hit musicals Frozen and Mean Girls have said they will not return

Live theatre is one of the last sectors to come back after the pandemic because of the challenges of social distancing for actors on stage, for crews backstage, and for audiences in cramped seating in old buildings.

New York City has begun relaxing pandemic restrictions in recent weeks due to a fall in coronavirus cases and an increase in supplies of vaccines.

The NY PopsUp programme, launched by show business producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, began its rollout in late February featuring short, free outdoor performances around New York state. - Reuters

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Arts , Theatre , Culture , New York , Reopening , Pandemic , Broadway


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