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Hairspray pauses West End performances due to positive Covid-19 test

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (right) had praised a production of Hairspray, starring Michael Ball (left). The musical has paused shows due to a positive Covid-19 test (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (right) had praised a production of Hairspray, starring Michael Ball (left). The musical has paused shows due to a positive Covid-19 test (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

West End musical Hairspray has cancelled its shows until next week after a member of the production team tested positive for coronavirus.

Starring singer Michael Ball, Hairspray had been praised by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden when it opened in London last month.

In a statement shared on Twitter, the show said someone on the production team tested positive “despite extremely robust measures being in place”.

All performances have been cancelled until Wednesday July 14, producers said.

The statement added: “We want to reassure all of our audiences that due to the strict processes we have in place at the London Coliseum this registered case will not have come into contact with anyone visiting the venue & we are confident that we have adhered to all health & safety requirements.

“The safety of our customers remains our number one priority. Everyone at both the London Coliseum and in the Hairspray team are so sorry that this means these performances cannot go ahead. ”

Patrons who have booked tickets for the cancelled shows can either rebook or claim a full refund.

Singer Ball, who plays Edna Turnblad in the musical, tweeted: “So sad for everyone who had tickets for @HairsprayLondon this week and for our brilliant company who are devastated at being unable to resume shows until 14th July.

“But the Beat is only paused and never stops!!!! miss you xxx.”

After watching the opening night of the production at the London Coliseum theatre, Mr Dowden hailed Hairspray as “tremendous” .

He tweeted: “A joy to watch! I know that theatres have had to endure many tough restrictions but we are making progress thanks to the vaccine, and I can’t wait to see theatres full again very soon.”

While some theatres reopened following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, they are only allowed to put on performances in front of reduced audiences.

Boris Johnson has signalled nearly all restrictions will end on July 19 in England, allowing theatres to welcome back full crowds.

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