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‘An agonising wait’: Hippodrome Circus thrilled to finally reopen this Saturday

PUBLISHED: 08:25 13 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:25 13 August 2020

The Hippodrome staff are desperately hoping the grand launch of the summer spectacular will go ahead on Saturday, as the government has so far indicated. Photo: Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth

The Hippodrome staff are desperately hoping the grand launch of the summer spectacular will go ahead on Saturday, as the government has so far indicated. Photo: Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth

Archant

Bosses at Great Yarmouth’s Hippodrome Circus said they are excited and ready to go ahead of the expected launch of their summer spectacular this Saturday.

Ringmaster Jack Jay and comedy partner Johnny Mac prepare for showtime at Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus, thought to be the first large theatre venue in Britain to stage a live show since lockdown Picture: Hippodrome CircusRingmaster Jack Jay and comedy partner Johnny Mac prepare for showtime at Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus, thought to be the first large theatre venue in Britain to stage a live show since lockdown Picture: Hippodrome Circus

After the original reopening date of August 1 was pushed back by the government, theatres are expecting to welcome back spectators on Saturday, August 15.

Peter Jay, who owns the Hippodrome, said reopening was vital to “salvage some of the summer season we have lost”.

He said: “The show is ready, all Covid measures are in place and we have even got the road in front of the circus closed off to permit social distancing for queuing patrons, who will be entering through different entrances.

“The show, which is fabulous, has no interval to stop toilet congestion, and has now had two dress rehearsals which have gone fantastically well.

Peter Jay, owner of Great Yarmouth Hippodrome. Picture: Nick WarnerPeter Jay, owner of Great Yarmouth Hippodrome. Picture: Nick Warner

“After an agonising two-weeks, we’re ready and just waiting for the go ahead from the government. It’s been a stressful time but if we open this Saturday at least we can salvage some of the summer season.”

The summer spectacular was scheduled to commence at the beginning of the month, but a last-minute government U-turn delayed the re-opening of theatres and left performers in the lurch.

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But in true bounce-back fashion, comedian and summer spectacular regular Johnny Mac said he was thrilled to be performing at all.

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

According to Mr Mac, the dress rehearsal on August 5 – attended by just 15 people – “felt like playing at Wembley”.

In July, when it looked possible the Hippodrome would be able put on a show this summer, he was in the town within 48 hours.

“Just doing this dress rehearsal felt like performing to a thousand people. I feel like I’ve been reborn,” he said.

“It’s a strange experience being a live performer or comedian. We crave that audience.”

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Jack Jay, ringmaster and producer, said the last few weeks have been “a real rollercoaster ride”.

Because of the limited seats available, Mr Jay is asking people to book in advance over the phone to avoid disappointment.

The performance will be 75 minutes long and runs from August 15 until September 20. Masks will be mandatory.

Mr Jay said: “We are looking forward to welcoming back all the Hippodrome fans who are waiting eagerly to see the show,


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