The Sydney, Australia, productions of Hamilton, Come From Away, and more have been shuttered due to rising coronavirus cases in the area. A two-week stay-at-home order went into effect June 26 for all residents of Sydney, Randwick, Woollahra, and Waverley—along with any employees who were in that area over the past 14 days, which includes cast members and theatre workers who may not live within those four districts.
The Guardian reports there is confusion about whether audience members who attended a show recently and live outside the stay-at-home boundary are being asked to quarantine as well. Some productions, like Hamilton and Come From Away, had been playing to 50 percent capacity as decided by the producers. There were no COVID-19 related government restrictions for theatres until the stay-at-home order was issued.
Several other productions have been affected, some having been in rehearsals or previews, including The Wedding Singer at State Theatre and the Hayes Theatre Company’s Merrily We Roll Along. The Cherry Orchard at Belvoir, Happy Days at Old Fitzroy Theatre, and Grand Horizons at Roslyn Packer Theatre have closed early. The Opera Australia stagings of Aida and Attila, which were already affected by earlier shutdowns, have been paused again.
“The prevailing mood is one of déjà vu but we’re still buoyant,” said Lisa Campbell, a producer at the Hayes. “We were able to have our first preview in front of a half-capacity audience, and it was wonderful. At least we’re able to press pause and be confident that when we press play again, everything will be fine....We are hoping for support because this is a mandated lockdown. We are still continuing to pay people under contract.”
Elsewhere around the world, London theatres had hoped to open at full capacity in mid-June but a steady number of cases pushed that date back to July. Theatre producers like Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh, and Sonia Friedman have taken legal action against the U.K. government to release data that could aid in a full reopening.
Broadway reopened June 26 with the return of Springsteen on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. Capacity was at 100 percent, but proof of vaccination was required. The next show slated to open on the Main Stem is Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s Pass Over, with previews beginning August 4 at the August Wilson Theatre.