Commercial theatre will not survive unless the Government “steps up to the plate”, Andrew Lloyd Webber has said.
The composer and theatre impresario, 72, has said it is economically “impossible” to run theatres with social distancing.
He told Good Morning Britain that UK governments have prioritised film and TV over the stage.
“I really don’t think commercial theatre can survive unless the Government does now step up to the plate and give it a little bit of help,” he said.
“I have noticed over the years, in this country, commercial theatre has been way down the food chain as far as governments have been concerned.
“They’re always going on about the film industry, they’ll support the film industry, they support television, they’re underwriting the film industry at the moment with an insurance scheme.
“Does theatre get a look in it? No.”
It was “particularly galling” that he demonstrated “theatres can open completely safely” with his pilot project, without social distancing, he said.
The composer is taking part in the Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial, which has resumed after it was paused when a patient fell ill.
“I will do anything to get theatre open, I thought, why not?… They said they wanted older people like me,” he said.
“I’m still standing. I’ve had no effects from it at all.”
The “atmosphere in there (after it resumed) was rather like a first night. It was totally electric, the nurses excited… It’s a very, very interesting thing to be a part of,” he added.
He once again called for a “target date” for theatres to open, saying the industry needs months to get ready.
“You can’t just open a theatre and put a show on. It doesn’t work like that,” the theatre impresario told the ITV show.