Venue bosses predict April return at earliest for gigs and shows

Peter Jay with his son Jack Jay at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth.December 2014.Picture: Ja

Peter Jay with his son Jack Jay at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth.December 2014.Picture: James Bass - 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. 

Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Credit: Jamie Honeywood

Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Credit: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

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. 

Claire Brooks, who runs the Walnut Tree Shades with husband Dale, has launched a Crowdfunder campaig

Claire Brooks, who runs the Walnut Tree Shades live music pub in Norwich with husband Dale Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

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. 

Most Read

"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." 

Sheringham Little Theatre theatre director Debbie Thompson. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY.

Sheringham Little Theatre theatre director Debbie Thompson. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY. - Credit: Archant

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."
 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus