By March, every single major Australian musical or theatre production had either wrapped early or cancelled upcoming performances due to coronavirus-induced shutdowns.
In South Korea the government has allowed The Phantom of the Opera to remain on stage thanks to the implementation of strict health and safety measures. Patrons must wear masks and have their temperature tested at the box office, before entering the theatre and again at the stage doors.
It also helps that audience demand is strong. Rather than cutting its seasons short, Phantom of the Opera’s Seoul run has been extended to August.
Lyon, who plays protagonist Christine, said Australia’s entertainment industry could learn a lot from South Korea’s during the coming months.
“Everyone backstage is wearing masks unless you’re obviously in costume and about to go on stage,” Lyon said. “There’s hand sanitiser everywhere. Everything is a well oiled machine. It has just functioned so efficiently.
“Don’t be embarrassed about wearing a mask. Here in Asia it’s quite common. I wear a mask every time I leave my hotel room, whether I’m going for a walk or getting my groceries or whatever I’m doing. Wear a mask and carry our hand sanitiser with you.”
And yes, despite, the global health crisis, she is still allowed to kiss the Phantom while playing Christine.
“[We’re] being particularly conservative with regards to our daily routines,” Lyon said. “It’s no different really to kissing a partner. The virus is spread easily enough without someone kissing.”
Born in Melbourne, Lyon’s first big break came in 2008 when she landed a full-time contract with Opera Australia in Sydney straight out of university. She has toured Australia with productions including My Fair Lady and has been a nominee in both the Helpmann and Green Room Awards.