Two of the city’s biggest cultural institutions, Leeds Grand Theatre and City Varieties, have closed until further notice.
The owners of Leeds Grand Theatre and City Varieties Music Hall have announced that both venues will close as of Tuesday 17th March 2020. This follows official government advice that people should avoid pubs, bars, restaurants and theatres to help slow the spread of Coronavirus. This is the first time that they’ve closed in their combined 300-year history. It’s an unprecedented move that puts two of the city’s most cherished attractions at risk.
Their other venue, Hyde Park Picture House, was about to close for its upcoming redevelopment, and that will continue as planned, but the cinema’s off-site screenings are being cancelled or postponed until they can re-open. That means there will be no shows or films from all three venues until government recommendations allow them to re-open.
“We are extremely grateful to all of our audiences who have continued to support us for as long as they can, and to our staff who have worked tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure the safety and enjoyment of audiences. These are unprecedented times – combined we have been open for over 300 years – and closing our venues is not a decision that has been taken lightly.” Chris Blythe, Chief Executive of Leeds Grand Theatre & Opera House Ltd, explained.
“In truth, this will have a severe impact on the future of Leeds Grand Theatre & Opera House Ltd. – our future is now uncertain – but the safety of our visitors and staff has always been our priority. We will continue to follow advice from the Government and work closely with the touring companies and artists that are due to visit our venues over the coming months and hope that we will be able to open our doors again very soon. We thank everyone for their continued support and loyalty.”
If you have a booking for any future performance or screening, starting with Northern Ballet’s Geisha, don’t call or email the venue, they’ll contact you in the coming days and weeks. Their small customer service team has been overwhelmed by the number of enquiries they’ve had since the announcement, but rest assured, they’ll be in touch as soon as possible and priority will be given to the people who have tickets to performances closest to today.
All customers will be entitled to a refund, minus booking fees, or you’ll be given the option to transfer your booking to another performance. As they’re a charitable enterprise, they’re asking anyone who can afford it to donate the cost of their ticket to the charity to help safeguard the future of these three of cherished entertainment venues in Leeds.
What comes next is unclear, but it’s hard to imagine a future without Leeds Grand Theatre, City Varieties or Hyde Park Picture House.