Theatres permitted to open in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed that theatres and concert venues can open from 6pm on Tuesday 27 July.

Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan responds:

It is fantastic that theatres in Northern Ireland can open from today and will be looking forward to welcoming back audiences who will have missed the incomparable experience of live performances. This means that theatres are now permitted to open in all four nations.

While this is a very welcome step in the right direction, currently only theatres in England and from 7 August in Wales can open at full capacity, with social distancing or capacity caps in place elsewhere, there are still different rules in each of the nations. This is both confusing for audiences and an obstacle for touring productions. It is imperative that the rules align across all of the nations at the earliest opportunity. With the Edinburgh Festival starting on 6 August, it would be a huge boost if, as the First Minister announced last month, it was able to go ahead with full audiences.

Updated 3 August - Scotland to lift social distancing rules.

Image: Grand Opera House Belfast by Ian Grundy