Judi Dench is uncertain about whether she'll live to see theatres reopen following the Covid-19 lockdown.
The actress, 85, spoke to Britain's Channel 4 News on Wednesday and admitted she was uncertain how the theatre industry would recover in the UK without help from the government, as live shows remain off the cards as other businesses begin to reopen amid the pandemic.
While restaurants, pubs and cinemas are among the venues set to reopen in the UK from 4 July, theatres have been ordered to hold off staging shows for the foreseeable future, due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus and strict social distancing measures.
Highlighting the extent of the financial strain venues like The Old Vic in London are experiencing, she commented: "This is what we rely on. It's a desperate feeling... Will they ever open again? I don't know. Certainly, I'm sure, not in my lifetime."
When asked how the theatre community could be helped, Judi insisted: "I'm not saying that it should be more prioritised than anything else. It's a very serious effect on all of us."
"If the theatres now close and become dark, I don't know when we're going to get them back," the Cats star added. "I can't see how it's going to recover."