LONDON – Noah Thomas saw his name in lights, and then the lights went out.
The young actor was still in drama school when he was cast to play the lead role in the London West End musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.” Thomas made his professional debut in early 2020. Weeks later, as the coronavirus pandemic washed over Britain, the city's theaters closed.
“It was a bit of a rude awakening,” Thomas said. “As the months ticked on — month one, month two, month three — you think, ‘This is a lot bigger than any of us could have anticipated.’”
More than a year on, the West End is preparing, with hope and apprehension, to welcome audiences back.
Plagues, fires, war — London has survived them all. But it has never had a year like this. The coronavirus has killed more than 15,000 Londoners and shaken the foundations of one of the world’s great cities. As a fast-moving mass vaccination campaign holds the promise of reopening, The Associated Press looks at the pandemic’s impact on London’s people and institutions and asks what the future might hold.
The pandemic has devastated British theater, a world-renowned cultural export and major economic force.