Paris theaters reopening will be a 'real party'

Curtains up at this theater in Paris but to a dark and empty stage.

The only person here is manager Sebastien Azzopardi, looking out at the seven hundred empty seats of the Palais Royal, one of Paris’ oldest theaters.

Two possible dates for reopening have come and gone and he’s not feeling hopeful.

"There's no longer any hope for a re-opening date. What happened on December 15 was very harmful, that moment where we were told we could reopen if the situation got better. We saw department stores reopen, people rush in for the Black Friday. We saw metros crowded, trains crowded during the holidays. But we were left on the side of the road. And that false hope was emotionally very painful."

In 2019, the Palais Royal revenue was more than $6 million.

Since the first lockdown in March, it has achieved $300,000.

It was only able to open June to October between the two French lockdowns and only three of the theater's 20 plus employees are still working.

The French government is now mulling a third lockdown, more bad news for the 200,000 odd people in France who work in the performing arts sector.

But when the day comes for a reopening, Azzopardi says he is confident the spectators will be there.

"I think it's going to be a real party when we reopen. That's my impression. We are all here, waiting, writing to each other, telling ourselves, 'I can't wait for start again.' And I think there will be a party atmosphere even stronger than before we closed. We are just waiting for one thing: to get back on stage. I think we will go there with outrageous desire."