The show must go on(line)

The show must go on(line)


In the midst of the current global pandemic, many businesses have had to temporarily close, leaving people without work.

Theatres have been hit particularly hard by this. For the first time in recent history, shows worldwide are unable to go on. Artists and performers, stage technicians, and others in the creative industry have had current and upcoming projects and jobs cancelled.

It’s not the first time that theatres have closed due to illness. In the 16th and 17th centuries, London’s playhouses were sometimes temporarily closed to protect the public during plague outbreaks. In those times, the actors could simply escape London to tour elsewhere in the UK. In 2020, with theatres closed worldwide and travel impossible, the theatre industry is having to find new creative outlets.

Just like how Shakespeare reportedly wrote some of his great works during times of pestilence, performers are now looking for ways of staying creative and visible. Meanwhile, theatres and production companies are trying to find ways to keep audiences engaged: some have streamed past shows for free, released soundtracks early, or even announced entirely virtual performances. Many are using these communications as an opportunity to raise money for charity.

One such show is Six, a British musical that reimagines the wives of Henry VIII as modern pop stars. With resident productions on London’s West End, New York’s Broadway and in Chicago, as well as planned tours of the UK, Ireland, Australia, and on various cruise ships, it has plenty of fans disappointed by the cancelled performances.

To lift spirits, Six casts from all over the world invited fans to join them for a “lockdown collaboration”, to perform two songs from the musical. More than 3000 fans joined in with the challenge, which gained positive coverage in the theatre press and, so far, has more than 82,000 views on YouTube and  tens of thousands more across social media.

Here’s the full video by Official London Theatre:

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