Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on the government to introduce a “seat out to help out” scheme to support the theatre industry.
The petition proposes that for every seat sold for a live performance, the government could pay £10 for an empty seat.
More than 44,000 people have lent support to the petition so far.
A discount scheme for the theatre industry was first proposed by think tank Centre for London following the success of the Eat Out to Help Out initiative for the hospitality sector.
The petition, addressed to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and Oliver Downdon, the culture secretary, said: “Our industry is on its knees. This is a real, powerful way to support hundreds of venues, and thousands of us that work in the arts.
“Please introduce #SeatOutToHelpOut. Where for every seat sold for a live performance, the government pay £10 for an empty seat.”
UK Theatres and the Society of London Theatres, which represent London’s West End venues, previously said they support proposals for a discount scheme.
Central London has suffered a sharp drop in footfall following the UK coronavirus lockdown due to a slump in commuter numbers and domestic and international tourists.
The Times reported on Sunday that the team behind the “eat out to help out” scheme has been tasked with drawing up a plan to encourage people to attend events once restrictions are lifted.
One proposal suggested that theatres and restaurants could team up for an offer on Mondays, meaning theatre ticket holders could get a discount on their meal.