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Theatre will have to adjust to the pandemic age—and fast

Out of catastrophe can come a new artistic flowering

By Michael Coveney  

Matt Smith and Claire Foy in a socially distanced performance of Lungs at the Old Vic Photo: Manuel Harlan

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc everywhere. At least we can be certain that schools will re-open, as will sports stadia, cinemas and galleries. But some jeremiahs are predicting that, unless there is some kind of drastic financial intervention by the government very soon, 70 per cent of Britain’s theatres will disappear down the plughole.

This will have severe economic as well as cultural consequences. As many people go…

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