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Some major theatres will not reopen in my lifetime, says Dame Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench spoke of fears that some theatres will not reopen after lockdown (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Dame Judi Dench spoke of fears that some theatres will not reopen after lockdown (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Dame Judi Dench has said that she believes some major theatres will not reopen in her lifetime.

The veteran stage and screen actress, 85, appeared on Channel 4 News to discuss the state of the UK’s theatre venues amid the lockdown.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that theatres and concert halls are able to reopen from July 4, but not for live performances.

Coronavirus – Fri Jun 19, 2020
Theatres including The Old Vic were forced to closed due to the coronavirus pandemic (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Speaking from her home, Dame Judi said: “When you hear that The Old Vic is in trouble, when you hear that the Nuffield in Southampton is in trouble, and Leicester and Nottingham.

“This is what we rely on and it’s a desperate feeling.

“And when will they ever open again? I don’t know, certainly, I’m sure, not in my lifetime.

“I don’t know, I can’t see how it’s going to recover.

“It’s not as if we don’t bring a great deal of money to the economy because I think, last year alone, we brought in 1.3 billion into the economy. So, it is necessary.

“Of course there are lots of other necessary things. I’m not saying that it should be more prioritised than anything else, but it just is going to be a very serious effect on all of us.”

Mr Johnson also announced that social distancing rules would be cut from two metres to “one metre plus”.

Dame Judi said many venues would still be unable to open, despite the reduction.

She added: “If the theatres now close and become dark, I don’t know when we’re going to get them back.

“We do need a big injection. You can’t run a theatre with people sitting six seats apart. You can’t run a theatre when it is a quarter full.”

The actress has become a social media sensation after appearing in TikTok videos with her grandson Sam Williams during lockdown, where they take part in viral dances.

She said: “It saved my life, I know nothing about TikTok. Sam is the person who is technically minded and who has all the ideas.

“He made me do it. I had to rehearse, I have rehearsed all his moves, it just seemed that comes naturally.”

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