West End London theatres reopen with COVID-19 safety measures

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London theatres finally reopened on May 17th - after a Covid-induced break that lasted for more than a year. While theatres were briefly allowed to function towards the end of last year, many could not follow through. And those that did open its doors were forced to shut shop after just a few days due to the rising number of Covid cases. This year, however, things seem to be different and the London theatres are now actively welcoming back audiences.

For all theatre enthusiasts looking to catch their favourite shows, classics like Mamma Mia , The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera are all reopening this year. You can also expect a host of new productions like Cinderella and The Drifters Girl. .

London Theatres Reopen with New Rules

Yes, the London Theatres have welcomed back its audiences, but with proper COVID-19 safety measures in place. According to the roadmap issued by the UK government, indoor theatres can run at only 50% capacity or with 1000 guests, whichever is lesser. However, these restrictions aren't here to stay. From July 19th, all theatres will be allowed to function at full capacity, according to the government.

See It Safely - The Official Safety Mark

How do you know that London Theatres are following all the necessary COVID-19 safety measures? The Society of London Theatre has developed a safety mark - See it Safely - that will be granted exclusively to theatres that abide by the performing arts guidelines as well as the guidelines recommended by the government. Therefore, viewers can enjoy London Theatre performances with the assurance of their safety. Here's the complete list of Approved Theatres in London.

COVID-19 Safety Measures Undertaken by London Theatres

Here are the safety guidelines a theatre needs to follow to be granted the ‘See it Safely’ mark:

  • Reduced Seating Capacities: Theatres are functioning at reduced capacities. Venues will either open at half capacity or with 1000 seats, whichever is lower. This is to ensure that there is no overcrowding at the venue.
  • Socially Distanced Groups: Group bookings can be made for up to 5 seats. There will be sufficient gaps among different groups.
  • Increased Sanitization: All high-contact areas will be sanitized in set intervals. The theatre, including the seat and floors will be sanitized after every show.
  • Temperature Checks: All viewers have to undergo temperature checks upon entry into the venue. You will be allowed entry inside only if your temperature is normal.
  • Masks: Protective gear such as masks are compulsory to gain entry into the theatre. All visitors are encouraged to wear additional safety gear like gloves.
  • Travel Routes: Upon entering the building, a theatre representative will guide you to the theatre in a socially-distanced manner. This will greatly reduce your interaction with other theatre-goers and will ensure that social-distancing is maintained.
  • E-Tickets: Physical tickets will not be used anymore. They will be replaced with either print-at-home tickets or e-tickets.
  • Refreshments: In order to make sure that the bar area does not get overcrowded during the intermission, visitors will have the facility of pre-ordering their drinks and snacks.
  • Some Facilities May not be in Function: Some theatres may close their cloakrooms and other high-contact facilities temporarily.

What to Expect from the New Theatre-Going Experience?

Let’s find out what the theatre-going experience will look like in the coming months:

Advance Booking

The excitement among theatre-goers combined with the reduced capacities that theatres are functioning with has resulted in quite a few shows to fill up. Therefore, it is recommended that you book your London theatre tickets at least a day or two in advance. Booking your London theatre tickets with Headout is not only safe, easy, and covenient, you may also come across exciting discounts. In case you do not wish to make an advanced booking, you can purchase a same-day ticket through the TKTS booth that has now gone online.

Social Distancing & Other Precautions

All precautions have been taken to ensure that social distancing is maintained. You will find that the orchestra has moved slightly away from the actors to an elevated platform on the side and is separated from the actors with a glass panel.

Actors have to not only undergo regular tests, but also follow a dressing room bubble system wherein they are only allowed to be in close contact with actors whom they already share the stage with.


If you wish to head over to the bar, you will be required to follow a contact-free one-way system. The theatre staff will guide you to the bar where you can collect your pre-ordered snacks and drinks. Instead of one long queue, the theatre space is designed to accommodate multiple short queues where guests can follow social distancing. Use of contactless payment methods is encouraged.

Which are the West End shows Reopening Soon?

Here's a list of West End Shows that are reopening soon:

Is Social Distancing Here to Stay?

For those of you who miss the old theatre-going experience, there is good news. According to the government’s reopening roadmap, there will be no need for social distancing measures in the near future. Theatres will function normally, from 19 July onwards, with no reduction in their seating capacity.

West End Safety Measures: FAQs

Is London Theatre open?

Which are some of the shows currently being showcased at London theatres?

Are Covid-19 safety measures being followed by the London theatre?

Is it safe to attend London theatre?

What does the mark ‘See it Safely’ mean?

Should I book my London theatre ticket in advance?

How long can we expect the social distancing to continue?