Six the Musical makes history again as it becomes the first West End musical to resume performances since lockdown.
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s histore-mix look at Henry VIII’s wives has become a global phenomenon since its early days as a student production at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Earlier this year the show was regularly playing to sell-out houses in London’s West End, on tour across the UK and Australia. And it was about to make its Broadway debut when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, causing the show to be cancelled just three hours before curtain-up.
Now despite likely financial losses producers Kenny Wax, Wendy and Andy Barnes, and George Stiles are keen to bring the Queens back to life, opening productions in both London’s West End and on tour, coming to The Lowry, where it played to sell-out audiences last Christmas for another festive run.
“We accept that with social distancing it is unlikely to be economically viable,” says Wax. “We also understand that restarting productions, particularly musicals, remains impossible for most producers for reasons of scale, finance and lack of cancellation insurance. But we have the opportunity to give work to 100 or so actors, musicians, technicians, stage managers, production managers, costume makers, marketing, press, ticketing and office staff across the two productions. And we hope to entertain many thousands of theatre goers who have been starved of live entertainment since March.
“We are sure that opening SIX will help to build audience confidence and bring business back to the local economy. And we continue to look forward to the day when social distancing is removed and theatres can play to 100% capacity”.
The London production will temporarily move from its West End home at the Arts Theatre to The Lyric on Shaftesbury Avenue for a limited 11-week run beginning on 14 November through to 31 January 2021.
Meanwhile, the touring production starring Lauren Drew (Catherine of Aragon), Maddison Bulleyment (Anne Boleyn), Lauren Byrne (Jane Seymour), Shekinah McFarlane (Anna of Cleves), Jodie Steele (Katherine Howard) and Athena Collins (Catherine Parr), will restart at The Lowry on 27 November, playing 8-shows a week in the venue’s large Lyric Theatre. Capacity has been reduced from 1730 to approximately 740 seats inside the auditorium (depending on the booking number in each party) with one metre+ distancing between each group of seats.
Temperature checks will be taken for all audience members before entering the building. Government face covering policy at the time that the show opens will be followed. Hand sanitising stations will be available around the theatre. Theatre staff will undertake a thorough cleaning of the auditorium between shows.