John Kani’s play, Kunene and the King, has become the latest high-profile production to be put on ice amid lockdown measures to prevent the worldwide spread of Covid-19.
The play, which had been running at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and was set to begin in London this week, was cancelled on Tuesday after British prime minister Boris Johnson urged the public to stop visiting pubs, restaurants, theatres “and other social venues”.
An upbeat John took to Twitter to share the bad news and thanked all those who had supported the show.
“London, the prime minister has closed all theatres, public gatherings, pubs, restaurants, football and sports to halt the spread of this virus. So my play has closed in London. We were only left with two weeks to go anyway. Thank you to all who supported us. What a run!”
The Market Theatre in Johannesburg announced that it would suspend all plays this week, while the Baxter Theatre Centre in Cape Town announced on Monday that it would be closing its doors to the public until the end of April.
“This is in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of declaring . . . a state of disaster and the University of Cape Town’s executive decision to implement precautionary, proactive measures to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus,” said theatre management in a statement.
President Ramaphosa announced several restrictions to stop the spread of the deadly virus on Sunday, including a ban on all gatherings of 100 people or more.