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Sonia Friedman on pandemic theatre: ‘It’s a bloodbath’

Monday, 17 January 2022

Sunday Times - Interview with Sonia Friedman:
By Kirsty Lang

Sunday January 09 2022, 12.01am, The Sunday Times

Sonia Friedman hasn’t stopped since she left school at 16 for a job backstage, winning 58 Olivier awards and 34 Tonys on her rags to riches way to the top. If all goes to plan, the super-producer’s blockbuster openings this year include Mark Rylance reprising his role in Jerusalem in the West End and Funny Girl on Broadway.

Friedman, though, has not had a happy new year. In the past three weeks she has had to cancel 158 performances and lost more than £4 million. Omicron has rolled inexorably through the West End like a tsunami. The new variant could not have arrived at a worse time. The Christmas period is when theatre companies build up their reserves. A pantomime can account for 40 per cent of a regional theatre’s annual box-office income. “It’s a bloodbath and it’s chaotic,” Friedman says. “We are seeing drops in our box office of between 25 and 50 per cent. There’s fear, despair and confusion all round.”

Read the full article on the Sunday Times website →

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