"I can't see how it's going to recover," says Dame Judi Dench of the U.K. theater community

June 24, 2020 05:59 PM
Judi Dench
Andreas Rentz/Getty

Dame Judi Dench is fearful she won't see theaters reopen after they shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The actress, 85, spoke to Channel 4 News on Wednesday in which she admitted she didn't know how the theater industry would recover in the U.K. without government help.

Citing the Old Vic and several other celebrated theaters in the U.K. as experiencing financial trouble, Dench said, "This is what we rely on."

"It's a desperate feeling," she continued. "Will they ever open again? I don't know. Certainly, I'm sure, not in my lifetime."

Asked how the theater community could be aided, the Cats star said, "I'm not saying that it should be more prioritized than anything else. It's a very serious effect on all of us."

"If the theaters now close and become dark, I don't know when we're going to get them back," she said. "I can't see how it's going to recover."

In May, the Old Vic, one of London’s oldest and storied theaters, announced it was in a "seriously perilous" financial situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artistic director Matthew Warchus said the theater, like Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Royal Academy and Royal Albert Hall, has "a significant cultural presence but, unusually, no government funding," instead, relying on ticket sales, sponsorship and donations, according to The Guardian.

Warchus told the outlet the Old Vic has some funds to last "a small number of months" but after those run out there’s "no safety net."

The theater has offered an online streaming option to theatrical performances at home, commencing with Claire Foy and Matt Smith's play Lungs.

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