The Globe canceled that afternoon’s show so that a new actor could rehearse the role, then went ahead with the evening performance. “We are unique, as Shakespeare’s plays can be presented with distancing,” Neil Constable, the theater’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview. “But when you’ve got a major musical like ‘The Prince of Egypt,’ which costs millions of pounds and has lots of people onstage, you don’t have that option.”
He said the British government should underwrite theaters’ risks, a sentiment that echoes calls by other leaders from Britain’s theater industry for a state-run insurance program. Last year, the government introduced a similar initiative for TV and movie shoots, but it has not announced anything for other forms of cultural life, as European governments like those of Germany and Austria have done.
“We understand the challenges live events have in securing indemnity cover and are exploring what further support may be required,” a spokeswoman for Britain’s culture ministry said in an email.
Davies, the Royal Court executive, said a safety net was badly needed, especially for commercial theaters that don’t receive public subsidies.
She had a recent experience of the benefits of insurance, she said. On Monday, the cast and crew of “Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner” were scheduled to return to the stage for their first performance since completing their quarantines — but then a severe storm flooded the theater’s basement and the show was canceled again.
“It was devastating — it was their comeback,” Davies said, before adding that the theater’s insurers had covered some of its losses that night. “We’re insured for flooding,” she said, “just not Covid.”