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‘It is a heartbreaking decision’ - City theatre to temporarily close

PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:09 13 October 2020

The Maddermarket Theatre is set to close for nine months due to coronavirus Picture: Supplied by Maddermarket Theatre

The Maddermarket Theatre is set to close for nine months due to coronavirus Picture: Supplied by Maddermarket Theatre

Archant

The Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich is set to temporarily close from next month to ensure its future, with all scheduled shows postponed or cancelled.

Paula Meir, Maddermarket Theatre Trust chairman. Photo: Maddermarket TheatrePaula Meir, Maddermarket Theatre Trust chairman. Photo: Maddermarket Theatre

The venue, located in St John’s Alley, will shut from November 21 until August 2021 and the decision was made at an emergency meeting of trustees.

Since closing in March, the Maddermarket operations have undergone a restructure and a new business strategy was put in place, but the threat posed by a second wave of Covid-19 means those plans are now being put on hold.

Paula Meir, Maddermarket Theatre Trust chair, said: “It is a heartbreaking decision to have to make, but this short-term closure will ensure the theatre’s future viability.

“The trading environment has never been more uncertain and we were faced with a stark choice: risk our financial reserves by attempting to run with socially distanced audiences or mothball the theatre for nine months.

The Norfolk Voices Festival will feature local actor Sam Clemmett, who starred as Albus Potter in the West End and Broadway versions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Picture:  Joseph SinclairThe Norfolk Voices Festival will feature local actor Sam Clemmett, who starred as Albus Potter in the West End and Broadway versions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Picture: Joseph Sinclair

“We ran several financial scenarios and even with reasonable audience numbers trading would have been challenging. And if audiences didn’t return as hoped, it would be disastrous.

“By making this decision now we are giving the theatre its best chance of long-term survival.”

READ MORE: Covid-secure pantomimes announced for Norfolk this Christmas

The Maddermarket Theatre celebrates its centenary in September 2021 and support hundreds of community projects each year, including many amateur theatre productions.

The fundraising Norfolk Voices Festival will go ahead next month as planned and showcase local talent.

The event will run from November 14 to 21 in a socially distanced auditorium, with 200 seats removed, promising a mix of drama, music and spoken word and afterwards the venue will temporarily shut.

Highlights include a specially-commissioned performance of Stephen Fry’s memoirs “Moab is my Washpot”, performed by Moco Theatre Company, and “Sam Clemmett In Conversation” where fans get to quiz the Norfolk-born West End and Broadway star about his career and role as Albus Potter in smash-hit play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”.

Miche Montague, festival director, said: “The new-look auditorium is incredible. There will be such an intimate feel to the festival, we are all very excited!”

For the full programme and booking details visit maddermarket.co.uk


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