‘Only time will tell’ - Theatre boss reacts to Boris Johnson’s announcement

PUBLISHED: 05:30 10 September 2020

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Ella Wilkinson


The boss of Norfolk’s flagship theatre has concerns audience members would still be nervous even if mass testing for coronavirus was rolled out.

Boris Johnson announced a new test was being piloted shortly in Salford at a Downing Street Conference on Wednesday.

The new tests use swabs or saliva and can turn round results in as little as 20 minutes.

The prime minister said it could mean theatres and sports venues test all audience members and let in those with a negative result.

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But Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, said while the development was “exciting and interesting” it may take people time to feel confident in theatres.

He said: “Even if there was a test, it could still take a period of time for people to feel confident sitting next to each other in close proximity after many months of being told to social distance. Only time will tell.”

“Whatever outcome, our current programme will not change and will continue to run - unless the guidelines change. If there was a test, it would mean that we could increase the audience numbers. “

Currently, a six-week programme of shows is being held by the theatre and Lost In Translation Circus in Chapelfield Gardens in Norwich.

But the theatre itself will temporarily reopen to audiences for a special festive programme called A Right Royal Christmas from December 16 to 24.

The theatre normally has 1,300 seat capacity but around 300 tickets are being sold due to social distancing.

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