Our Empty Theatres Helen Murray

Honourable Mention – Personal

This series was made during spring’s UK lockdown; it features 22 empty theatres in Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

“On March 16, all theatres around the UK closed their doors,” says photographer Helen Murray. “Shutting the theatres was a momentous cultural and historic event for the arts sector. Over the course of lockdown, I set myself a challenge: to create a personal project that captured this moment in history, but which also told a story of its own.

“As a theatre photographer I kept coming back to my place of work – spaces that were now without life, without people, without stories. Shooting the series was sobering. Going back into these spaces I know so well, I was met with total silence – no background noise, no chatter, no infectious laughs bellowing out of a rehearsal room. The stark opposite of what they should be.

“My photos are a love letter to not just the theatres themselves but to the people, artists and communities who give these buildings life.”