'Absolutely devastated' - Tier 4 forces theatres to cancel Christmas shows

Resident musical director, Nigel Hogg, centre, at the Pavilion Theatre on Cromer Pier ready for the

Nigel Hogg's production company created Strictly Christmas at The Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre this year, but the run will be cut short as Norfolk goes into Tier 4. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

After a turbulent year, the theatre industry has been dealt another blow with the announcement of Norfolk going into Tier 4 resulting in the cancellation of shows from Boxing Day. 

Under Tier 4 restrictions, which come into force at one minute past midnight on Saturday, entertainment venues including theatres, bowling alleys and cinemas must close.

Variety show Strictly Christmas at the Pavilion Theatre in Cromer started on December 4 and was due to end on January 1, but will now finish a week early.

Nigel Hogg, whose production company produces the show, said: "I am absolutely devastated to be honest, we had heard a rumour that we may have to finish by December 30 with the restrictions review, but we never expected this.

"It is a shame as we had a completely full house Boxing Day and have done 18 shows that were really well attended.

"It is a terrible blow to everyone who has worked so hard to make it a tremendous success and it is such a shame as people have commented how safe they feel."

Brian Hallard, who runs the Princess Theatre in Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt

Brian Hallard, who runs the Princess Theatre in Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Another show with cancelled performances is Mother Goose at the Princess Theatre in Hunstanton, a socially distanced pantomime which was set to run from December 19 to January 1. 

Brian Hallard, director at the Princess Theatre, said: "To cut the show short by a week means a lot of disappointed people.

"It really annoys me as the government knew this was coming and should have said something at the beginning of the week so we could have done three shows a day and moved people coming after Christmas.

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"At least we got the theatre open and up and running and we had great reviews and comments from people saying they felt safe."

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive, preparing to open the theatre with all new Covid-safe measures in...

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2020

Elsewhere, the team at Norwich Theatre Royal are feeling lucky that they don't need to cancel any performances as its festive programme A Right Royal Christmas ends on Christmas Eve. 

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre said, "It is an extraordinary relief to get to deliver our season as planned, but my heart goes out to venues across the county and country."