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The Almeida Theatre, June 8 2020. © Helen Murray
The Almeida Theatre, June 8 2020. © Helen Murray

See extraordinary photos of London’s empty theatres

Deserted stages, audience-less auditoriums – the eerie reality of thespian lockdown

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What’s a theatre without an audience and its actors? Well, thanks to the work of photographer Helen Murray, we now know the answer to that question is: shocking, heartbreaking and really sad, actually.

Over the course of the last three months, Murray has visited and photographed 22 theatres in London, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool for her ’Our Empty Theatres’ project. The sight of these lonely, grandiose buildings sitting unfilled is a stark reminder of lockdown’s devastating effect on the arts in the UK.

Theatre Royal Stratford East, June 2 2020. © Helen Murray

 

Theatre Royal Stratford East, June 2 2020. © Helen Murray

 

‘Shooting this series has been sobering,’ says Murray. ‘Going back to into these spaces that I know so well and being met with total silence. No background noise, no chitter-chatter, no infectious laughs bellowing out of a rehearsal room: just complete silence.’

The haunting photos, which include legendary London venues like the Globe, the Royal Court and the Lyric Hammersmith, are accompanied by quotes from more than a hundred individuals drawn from the British theatre community. 

Here’s hoping that theatre’s silence is broken soon.

Explore the whole ‘Our Empty Theatres’ collection at www.helenmurrayphotos.com.

Theatres are allowed to reopen from August 1.

Andrew Scott is performing to an empty Old Vic in ‘Three Kings’.

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