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Great Yarmouth theatre could be among first to re-open

PUBLISHED: 14:38 11 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:38 11 June 2020

St George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth.  Picture: Nick Butcher

St George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

A theatre in Great Yarmouth could be among the first in the country to re-open .

St George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Andi SapeySt George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Andi Sapey

Theatres the length and breadth of the UK have been hit hard by the government’s coronavirus restrictions, among them St. George’s Theatre, on King Street, which has been closed since March 16.

Across Norfolk and Waveney venues are losing out on millions of pounds in ticket revenue and funding while still having to pay costly overheads.

But the good news for the Great Yarmouth’s theatre-goers is that the theatre could be among the first playhouses to re-open.

Having no fixed seating, the auditorium could be set up cabaret style with moveable tables and chairs that make it easier for audiences to observe social distancing.

St George's Theatre, Great YarmouthSt George's Theatre, Great Yarmouth

The space in the early 18th century building could also be used for standing-only events like music gigs.

MORE: Have your say on future of county’s gigs, theatres and entertainment with expert panel

Debbie Thompson, theatre director, said: “We don’t have the same physical restrictions that most theatres have and we’re confident that we could offer a safe return for people.

“Audiences numbers will be smaller, of course, but people will be able to experience once again the sheer joy that live entertainment brings.”

Sporting a t-shirt with the slogan The Show Must Go On, Ms Thompson said, “I feel very positive about the future of St. George’s and we are already working on our programme of professional and community shows for when the doors re-open. Our staff are raring to go and we have lots of enthusiastic volunteers waiting in the wings to support us.

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“We’ve had a tremendous amount of moral support from the town during lockdown and have managed to secure some important grants to keep us going. All we need now is for the box office to open and the curtain to go up. We can’t wait to hear the applause ringing around St. George’s again.”

Theatres were among the first businesses ordered to close their doors as coronavirus began to spread through the country.

And while Covid-19 emergency job retention schemes have meant many working in the industry have been able to protect some of their income, theatre bosses in the region say a lack of specific support packages for the arts and entertainment sector could see many theatres struggle to ever reopen again.


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