Only the Phantom Need Wear His Mask: Mask-Wearing in Theatres to End

Published Tue, 25 January 2022

In the latest update to the government’s coronavirus plans, mandatory face-masks are set to be dropped once-and-for-all.

The Prime Minister made the announcement as part of plans to drop current “Plan B” restrictions from 27th January. This means that face masks and so-called Covid passports will no longer be required at the theatre.

Of course, whilst the government line may change, it is still worth checking with each individual venue as some theatres may wish to continue requesting audiences wear masks.

Certainly, the government’s guidance is that masks may continue to be useful in crowded public spaces, though they will not mandate this in law.

It is expected that theatres will continue to recommend masks, and will maintain their existing health and safety protocols, which were introduced prior to “Plan B” being initiated this winter.

Theatres have been undertaking daily Covid tests of staff, performers and crew, whilst audiences are now used to having their temperature checked upon entry.

LW Theatres have advised that they will be strongly recommending audiences wear masks in their theatres, which include Her Majesty’s Theatre – home of the Phantom of the Opera… who will keep his mask on.

Julian Bird, out-going Chief Executive of SOLT and UK Theatre, said:

“The relaxing of Plan B measures … should provide a confidence boost to the theatre industry after several weeks of turbulence and uncertainty. … As restrictions ease, we continue to ask theatregoers to wear face coverings throughout our buildings unless exempt, to protect our hardworking staff, performers and fellow audience members.”

The relaxation of government-sanctioned rules and the steady approach of spring present a positive outlook for West End theatregoers, who are spoilt for choice this year with a fantastic range of new and classic productions.