In an encouraging sign for theatre in Sydney – where venues have been closed since late June due to the current lockdown – Rodney Rigby and Junkyard Dog Productions have announced that their production of the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical Come From Away will reopen at the Capitol Theatre on 20 October.
With the NSW Government indicating that theatres will be able to reopen at 75 percent capacity once the state reaches a double vaccination rate of 70 percent of the eligible population – likely to happen in early October – tickets are now on sale from 20 October until 28 November 2021.
People attending the show, aged 16 or over, will need to show proof of double vaccination. All employees and contractors working on the production, including the cast, are also required to be fully vaccinated.
The Canberra season of Come From Away has been rescheduled from November 2021 to February 2022.
Producer Rodney Rigby of Newtheatricals said, “We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome audiences back to experience this extraordinary show, and our cast are eagerly awaiting their return to the stage.”
“It’s a beautiful, triumphant show about human kindness and resilience, and couldn’t be a better reflection of the power of community spirit shown in New South Wales over the past few months.”
Written by Canadian husband and wife David Hein and Irene Sankoff, Come From Away tells the incredible real-life story of 7,000 air passengers who were sent to Gander in Newfoundland when New York’s airports were closed during the September 11 terrorist attack. The way they were welcomed into the small community in Gander, and treated with kindness and compassion, makes for a beautiful, inspiring, uplifting show.
The Australian production of the smash-hit Broadway musical has been hard hit by the pandemic, having been shut down three times. It premiered in Melbourne in July 2019, receiving rave reviews, but was shuttered in March 2020 when COVID first hit. It closed again in February 2021 due to a lockdown after returning to the Melbourne stage, while the Brisbane season was forced to close in March 2021.
The Sydney production opened on 10 June, again garnering rapturous reviews, but had to close two weeks later due to COVID restrictions.
The news that the show will return to the stage in October follows an announcement on 13 September that Come From Away would be the first Australian theatre company to mandate COVID vaccinations for all staff working on the production.
Announcing the policy, Rigby said, “We have seen international productions on Broadway and the West End implement mandatory vaccination policies, and believe it’s our responsibility to provide the safest possible environment for our employees and audiences here in Australia.”
“We want to lead by example, and encourage all members of the community to be fully vaccinated to protect our community health, safety and wellbeing. Across the world, vaccination is proving to be an effective way of getting fans safely back into the theatre and we cannot wait to welcome audiences back to The Rock soon.”
Members of the cast made a video called “Get the Jab!”, calling for Australians to get vaccinated so that they can look after each other, be free from lockdown, and free to return to footy and the theatre.
It is expected that other companies including the Michael Cassel Group, which is producing Hamilton at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre, and Sydney Theatre Company, will make announcements about returning to the stage soon. Meanwhile, Brett Sheehy, Artistic Director of Melbourne Theatre Company, told The Age yesterday that he believes theatre audiences and staff working in theatre should all be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Come From Away will return to Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from 20 October. The season at Canberra Theatre Centre is scheduled to begin on 3 February, 2022.