West End shows including The Lion King, Life of Pi and Hex cancelled after COVID outbreaks


Several West End shows including The Lion King have been forced to cancel performances due to outbreaks of coronavirus among cast and crew.

The Lion King cancelled shows on Tuesday and Wednesday due to “COVID-enforced absences within our cast and crew”.

Performances at the Lyceum Theatre are due to resume on Thursday – and customers affected by the cancellations will be contacted via email.

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Life of Pi announced that it will be closing its doors for five shows due to COVID cases. Pic Life of Pi Production Photo / Johan Persson
Life of Pi scrapped five shows. Pic: Life of Pi Production Photo

What other West End shows have been impacted by COVID outbreaks?

The Life of Pi has scrapped five shows at Wyndham’s Theatre but says it will return on Wednesday.

Producers of the show, which is based on the Booker Prize-winning 2001 novel by Canadian author Yann Martel, said there had been “several cases of COVID in the company” despite “robust measures taken”.

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Production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has succumbed to a similar fate and will also be closed until Friday at the Troubadour Theatre Wembley.

Performances at the National Theatre of Hex, based on the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, are also cancelled until Thursday.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Comedy of Errors at the Barbican has been paused, but hopes to restart on Thursday 23 December ahead of Christmas.

While on Tuesday, Southwark Playhouse announced it was cancelling the remainder of its run of The Rhythmics.

Force Majeure at the Donmar Warehouse and Fair Play at the Bush Theatre have also experienced cancellations.

Impact of closures

The festive period is crucial to theatres for income and reaching new audiences, especially after most productions were cancelled or delayed in 2020.

The theatre industry was subject to some of the longest and toughest restrictions due to the pandemic.

This year theatres have been able to stage productions without restrictions on audience capacity after the rules were relaxed in July.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Pic: Matt Crockett
Moulin Rouge! The Musical was the first to introduce mandatory face masks for audience entry. Pic: Matt Crockett

But, due to the Omicron variant, audiences are now required to show a COVID pass upon entry and wear face masks inside venues.

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