Comedian Paul Whitehouse pleas for theatreland’s creative professionals

Writer and performer Paul Whitehouse has today made an impassioned plea in defence of theatre staff left unemployed following the shuttering of London’s West End theatre scene.

Along with other members of the cast and crew of the Only Fools and Horses musical, in which he stars as Uncle Albert, he stood in silence outside Theatre Royal Haymarket, where they would usually be working.

“This stand is to highlight the plight of everyone who works in the theatre industry – the front of house staff, box office, bar staff, cleaners, ushers, maintenance workers as well as the  musicians and musical directors, stage crew and cast, producers, writers, set designers, directors, lighting and sound designers, art departments, production teams, make-up and wigs, costume, carpenters and marketing,” he said. 

Whitehouse says that while he acknowledges it isn’t possible to return to the days of sold out shows, limited attendances with restricted audiences would be a start. “You can’t sit next to someone on a flight, but you can’t open the windows in a plane,” he argued “but we can ventilate a theatre.”

He said the industry needs restrictions lifted, or at least a date to work towards. “The concern is that when we can return, the professionals who work behind the scenes will have left the industry – because they’ve not had any other choice.”