Venue bosses predict April return at earliest for gigs and shows
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014
With Norfolk's theatres and music venues currently closed, those working hard behind the scenes have revealed when they think they will be able to welcome audiences back.
As the nation was plunged into another lockdown at the start of January, performances scheduled for early 2021 were either cancelled or postponed.
While there is currently no reopening date for venues to aim for, largely dependent on the success of the coronavirus vaccination rollout, the general consensus of those working in the arts is April at the earliest.
Jack Jay, whose family have run the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth since 1979, said: "Our next production is our pirate show at Easter.
"Our main focus is to reopen for it, but it is very difficult planning as even if the current lockdown works, the hospitality industry and theatres are always first to close and last to reopen."
Despite the uncertainty ahead, the Jay family are staying positive and currently working on casting, following the success of its socially distanced summer and Christmas shows.
Claire and Dale Brooks have run The Walnut Tree Shades live music pub in Norwich since 2010 and the latest lockdown has left them worried about the future.
Mrs Brooks said: "We did a small ticketed event in December and it gave me such a buzz, but we could only have 12 people and normally have capacity for 60 to 80.
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"The hardest bit is the goalposts keep changing and every time I plan something there is another obstacle.
"It scares me that we may not be able to reopen until May."
Elsewhere, Debbie Thompson, theatre director of Sheringham Little Theatre and St. George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth, is hoping for an April or May return.
Both venues temporarily reopened at Christmas for a socially distanced pantomime of Rapunzel and it was also live streamed to schools and watched by 200,000 pupils across the UK.
Mrs Thompson said: "It was depressing to have to close after such a high from the panto.
"But there is good news as we have been given permission for a husband and wife theatre company to rehearse a show about lockdown life so it is ready to go at both venues."