West End theatres ground to a halt on the evening of July 7, with many cast, staff and crew members unable to get to work, and producers feeling that business as usual was inappropriate.
The scale of the attacks was becoming clearer on July 8, with injuries having risen to more than 700 and fatalities expected to exceed 50. Due to the recovery operations not having been completed, the British police has warned that both of these figures might still rise significantly. The attacks have been attributed to an Al Qaeda cell and came the day after London was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games, an event which will offer employment to a large number of performers.
Almost all of London’s shows are scheduled to go ahead July 8. Richard Pulford, the Society of London Theatre’s chief executive, issued the following statement, posted on the SOLT website: “Like the rest of London, theatre people will not be intimidated by terrorism. They are absolutely determined that life shall go on as normal. Tonight they will take to our stages, man our box offices and care for our audiences as they always have. London is the theatre capital of the world and will remain so despite yesterday’s atrocities. The year to date has been one of the strongest on record, and the industry will continue to offer theatregoers the life enhancing experience that the performing arts are uniquely well equipped to provide.”
According to SOLT, there are still a very few performances that have been canceled. At the time of writing, the National Theatre’s 7 PM performance of Shell Connections in the Cottesloe is off (but the 8:45 PM performance will go ahead), as is the NT’s 6:30 PM “Watch This Space” event by UK Street Dance. Check the SOLT website (www.officiallondontheatre.com) for details.
As for those who had tickets for shows on July 7 and were unable to use them, check with the individual theatres as to your options. Most theatres are offering ticket exchanges, some are also offering refunds as an alternative.