‘The producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh has said that shows like Hamilton, Les Miserables, Mary Poppins and The Phantom of the Opera will not return to the stage before 2021.
He warned of ‘drastic steps’, including redundancies at the theatres.
Mackintosh said: ‘This decision is heart-breaking for me, as I am sure it is for my employees, as everyone who has worked with me over the last 50 years, on or off the stage, knows how much I care about what I do and how I do it.
‘Despite the Government engaging with the desperate pleas from everyone in the theatre industry, so far there has been no tangible practical support beyond offers to go into debt, which I don’t want to do.
‘Their inability to say when the impossible constraints of social distancing will be lifted makes it equally impossible for us to properly plan for whatever the new future is.
‘This has forced me to take drastic steps to ensure that I have the resources for my business to survive and enable my shows and theatres to reopen next year when we are permitted to. I have no investors or venture capital backing, everything is funded by me personally and already my companies’ considerable reserves have been massively reduced by the complete closure of our industry everywhere.’