Call the Midwife star warns "time is almost up" for British theatre

24 June 2020, 17:26

By Fiona Jones

Call the Midwife star tells Shelagh Fogarty that "time is almost up" for British theatre and urges the government to save the industry.

Performing arts venues will remain closed for the foreseeable future as scientists conclude there would be a health risk for those on stage, Boris Johnson said in his last regular daily briefing.

The Theatre Royal in Plymouth has announced 100 jobs are at risk as a direct impact of the pandemic.

Actor Stephen McGann, known for playing Doctor Turner in Call The Midwife, said "it's looking really grim" for the arts sector and "there's blood on the floor."

"There's a particular problem with live theatre: you've got to get people lives or dies on that connection with an audience and the people who are on the stage," he said.

He told Shelagh that the government must help save the industry: "The clock is ticking and we're almost out of time."

"We're going to lose a whole network of things that we're not going to be able to get back and it's a really fantastic part of British culture, very very important," Mr McGann said.

The actor explained how he formed his own career by starting in local theatre and moving through the "wonderful eco-system" to London's West End.

While theatres could technically have social distanced seats, meaning the house will be down to 20-30%, theatres "just won't survive", he said.

Stephen McGann urged again for the government to help theatres until the pandemic eases.