Re-opening of the Ri

We are delighted to announce a staged re-opening of the Ri to public audiences beginning in August 2021.

Video explainer

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Adult theatre tickets are available to book on a pay-what-you-can basis for Ri Members Patrons only in August, as a thank you for continuing to support the Ri financially during the pandemic, and because some theatre events will be the first we have run with a simultaneous livestream. We are testing the approach and it’s possible that the in-theatre experience might not be a smooth as it normally is.

Many of our events will be recorded for posting on our popular YouTube channel, as they have always been. By attending one of our theatre events you give your consent to be filmed for YouTube and for the purposes of simultaneously livestreaming the event.

Our refund policy has been updated, with refunds up to 24 hours in advance, so you can book with confidence.

For Venue Hire, please visit our Venue Hire website or contact

Welcome back to the Ri! And thank you for your continued support during the pandemic.

In August and September we will only be open to Ri staff and tenants, Venue Hire clients, and live audiences for our public programme of theatre talks. Sadly we will not be open to general visitors and our café and free Museum will remain closed for the time being.

Last updated on 06 August 2021.

How are we keeping you safe?

The safety and wellbeing of our staff and visitors is our first priority, so we are only opening now, with a limited capacity, because we are confident it is safe and practical to do so.

We are following Government and Public Health England advice, as we have been throughout the pandemic and will continue to review our approach as that guidance changes, notably with the anticipated lifting of restrictions from 19 July. However at the moment we are limiting audience numbers in our theatre, and asking everyone in the Ri to continue following steps to make the Ri Covid-secure:

  • To follow one-way systems and maintain a social distance of 1m+
  • To wear a mask when moving around the building and when seated in the theatre
  • To regularly use the hand sanitiser that is made readily available

In addition, we are regularly cleaning public areas of the building and the number of people in some areas (e.g. the toilet facilities) will be controlled, while access to others won’t be possible. If you have any concerns or further questions regarding our continued use of Covid-19 safety measures, please email Thank you in advance for your support and cooperation.

When will we open the rest of the Ri?

We are aiming to open other public areas at the Ri, such as the Museum, as soon as possible, but we are not yet able to set a definitive date.

Our plan is to re-open in stages, starting with the theatre events and venue hire, and will move to the next stage when we are  confident it is safe and practical to do so.

We have reluctantly concluded that it is not possible to run our popular Summer Schools this year, but we will be running an enhanced family programme in the theatre throughout the summer instead.

For schools, we are delivering Covid-safe visits by our professional Science in Schools presenters and are running our Masterclasses online. For a limited time only, we also have online workshops for primary schools, presented live by our L’Oreal Young Scientist Team.

We will issue updates as our plans become firmer. If you haven’t already, please sign up to our newsletter or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to be the first to know as we move to the next stage of re-opening the Ri.

How many tickets are available and what will they cost?

We are operating a temporary pricing structure as we trial a return to events in our theatre with a live audience. At the moment we are maintaining a social distance in our theatre, meaning audience numbers will be limited, and that event attendees will be asked to follow other Covid-safe measures:

  • For any event that is livestreamed, up to 5000 tickets are available on a pay what you can basis, including a free option
  • For any adult event with a live theatre audience, up to 90 tickets will be available initially, increasing to 120 with bubbles. In August these tickets can be booked by Ri Members and Patrons only, on a pay-what-you-can basis with a free option, as a thank you for their continued support. In September adult theatre tickets can be booked by all, with standard Ri ticket prices
  • For any Family event with a live theatre audience, up to 90 tickets will be available initially, increasing to 120 with bubbles. These events will be open to all with standard Ri ticket prices, discounted to £7 for Ri Young Members, Members

Please note: We will review our approach as Government guidance changes, notably with the anticipated lifting of restrictions from 19 July, and may be in a position to release more tickets to our theatre events. Our ticket prices from October will change and will depend on learnings from this temporary structure.

What sort of public events will we be running in August and September?

We will be running three types of events for adult and Family audiences:

  • Livestream event – Talks that are livestreamed only, with an online speaker and audience (e.g. at home), as per our current programme
  • Theatre event – Talks in our theatre with a live audience, but not livestreamed, as per our pre-pandemic programme
  • Theatre and livestream event – A new hybrid event, with the speaker and a live audience in our theatre, simultaneously livestreamed to an online audience

How can you be there?

You can attend in person in our theatre or watch a livestream online.

Events are listed on our ‘What’s on’ pages and tickets can be booked via the Ri Eventbrite, as normal.

If you are booking tickets to attend live in our theatre, please:

  • Follow the steps on Eventbrite to indicate if you are coming with others in a bubble and reserve seats for you and your guests under a single booking.
  • Remember to check the ‘waiting list’ option if the ticket you would like is unavailable, as we will likely release more tickets if bubbles allow.
  • Have your Ri Membership number ready if you are booking as an Ri Member or Patron. Please also bring your Membership card with you when you come to the Ri. 

Our livestreams are available via Eventbrite and can be enjoyed anywhere where you have a device and an internet connection. You will be sent a link to access the event via the ticket booking process and will receive reminders in the run-up.

If you miss the livestream event, it will be available via the same link for up to a week after the event date. Many of our talks will be available on our YouTube channel a short time after the event.

Please read our guide to accessing livestreams for more detail.