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‘It’s a great start’: Variety is back as Cromer Pier readies for showtime

PUBLISHED: 17:42 21 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:05 21 August 2020

Resident musical director, Nigel Hogg, centre, with the masked-up ushers ready for the Strictly Variety Show. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Resident musical director, Nigel Hogg, centre, with the masked-up ushers ready for the Strictly Variety Show. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2020

For months Cromer Pier’s Pavilion Theatre has been silent, the seats have sat empty, the ticket office quiet and no performances have been allowed due to coronavirus.

Resident musical director, Nigel Hogg, centre, at the Pavilion Theatre on Cromer Pier ready for the Strictly Variety Show. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYResident musical director, Nigel Hogg, centre, at the Pavilion Theatre on Cromer Pier ready for the Strictly Variety Show. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

But, from Sunday August 23, all this will change with the return of an end-of-the-pier variety show.

Called ‘Strictly Variety’, the 90-minute show, which claims to be the first variety show post-lockdown in the country, will run every Thursday to Sunday until the end of September.

To make the show possible, Openwide Coastal, which manages the pier, has cut the theatre’s capacity from 500 to 100, rows of seats have been taped off and a new aisle added to the venue.

The show itself will also be very different to the normal summer offering, with each event featuring three to four performers and none of the lavish scenery or ensemble numbers usually seen at the summer show.

A central aisle has been created in the auditorium of the Pavilion Theatre with seats taped off, to ensure correct distancing in the theatre for the Strictly Variety Show. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA central aisle has been created in the auditorium of the Pavilion Theatre with seats taped off, to ensure correct distancing in the theatre for the Strictly Variety Show. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Nigel Hogg, whose production company Nigel Hogg Productions is staging the show, said a lot of the work had gone on behind the scenes to make the show possible and the theatre safe.

Mr Hogg said: “We can’t put on the lavish show which we would normally have on the pier so Openwide, which manages the pier, have very kindly let us put on a show of three or four acts a night.

“People will still see solo acts, singers, comedians and magicians but there’ll be none of the scenery, costumes and production which we would normally have in the summer show.

“It’s as much as we’re allowed to put on in the present conditions,” he said.

Francis Guildea, general manager of Cromer Pier, where the Strictly Variety Show is being performed at the Pavilion Theatre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFrancis Guildea, general manager of Cromer Pier, where the Strictly Variety Show is being performed at the Pavilion Theatre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Hogg said initial reaction to the show had been very positive.

“I can guarantee if you come along to the show you’ll get an hour and a half of solid entertainment and I’m sure everyone will come out thinking they’ve had a really good evening,” he said.

Eddie Bushell, a singer who will be performing in the September 6 show said after a few very difficult months it was great to be back performing.

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He said when Mr Hogg called him to invite him to perform, he instantly agreed to.

“It was just so nice to be offered the chance to sing again because since March I’ve been doing no singing, which is what I do.

“It’s a great start,” he said.

How will it work?

Musical director, Nigel Hogg, taking part as artists get ready for the Strictly Variety Show at Cromer's Pavilion Theatre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMusical director, Nigel Hogg, taking part as artists get ready for the Strictly Variety Show at Cromer's Pavilion Theatre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A number of changes have been made to Cromer Pier’s Pavilion Theatre in order to make the new Strictly Variety show possible.

How many seats will there be?

Capacity at the theatre has been cut from 500 to just 100. Alternate rows have been taped off as well as the front two rows to protect performers and a new aisle had been created in the centre of the auditorium.

Will I have to wear a mask?

Singer Eddie Bushell getting ready for the Strictly Variety Show at Cromer's Pavilion Theatre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSinger Eddie Bushell getting ready for the Strictly Variety Show at Cromer's Pavilion Theatre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Yes- all visitors, unless exempt, will be required to wear a mask. Theatre staff will also wear masks.

How long is the show and how much are tickets?

The show is 90-minutes long with no interval. Tickets are £12.50 or £8 for children under 16.

Booking is for unallocated seating, and audience members will be seated by the ushers in their social bubbles.

Singer Eddie Bushell getting ready for the Strictly Variety Show at Cromer's Pavilion Theatre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSinger Eddie Bushell getting ready for the Strictly Variety Show at Cromer's Pavilion Theatre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Any unsold tickets will be available at the door.

Ticket collection is only from the pop-up box office in the Pavilion Bar no postage option is available


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