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From SOLT & UK Theatre – update

The text of an email sent on 9 September at 11:27

Dear SOLT & UK Theatre members,

Following the sad news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we have been liaising with government and are now in a position to share the official guidance.

In relation to Major Events, Entertainment and Sports it states:

“There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period. This is at the discretion of individual organisations. As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral. They are under no obligation to do so and this is entirely at the discretion of individual organisations. If sporting fixtures or events are planned for the day of the State Funeral, organisations may want to adjust the event timings, so they do not clash with the timings of the funeral service and associated processions. As a mark of respect, and in keeping with the tone of National Mourning, organisers may wish to hold a period of silence and/or play the National Anthem at the start of events or sporting fixtures, and players may wish to wear black armbands.”

The full guidance can be viewed here.

SOLT and UK Theatre therefore recommend, with the appropriate measures above, that wherever possible theatres remain open today and for the period up to the funeral.

For today and the period up to the funeral, there may be isolated individual circumstances where organisations feel it is appropriate to close, but this is NOT the general position. Closures announced in some public facing settings have been largely driven by police, due to security and scale, or due to a particular close connection with the Royal Family.

The creative sector crucially has an opportunity to have an appropriate moment to mark the occasion. We are therefore asking all theatres to fly flags at half-mast (if applicable) and dim their lights at 7pm (or a time appropriate to the performance) for 2 minutes as a mark of respect. This should be on every day for the duration of national mourning. Theatres may also wish to consider holding a minute’s silence, playing the national anthem and / or opening a book of condolence.

Day of Funeral 
The date of the funeral has yet to be announced and we will be providing more information about this as soon as it is available. We will also be monitoring operational considerations, particularly in London, around the lying in state and general congestion and be issuing further guidance.

Please ensure that all audiences are informed of developments.

Best wishes,

Martin Scott
Interim Chief Executive
Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre

Anne Gilmour