Roadmap to reopening met with 'cautious optimism' by Alnwick Playhouse

Alnwick Playhouse bosses have expressed ‘cautious optimism’ over the Government’s roadmap to reopening.

By Ian Smith
Thursday, 4th March 2021, 4:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th March 2021, 4:14 pm

The theatre has been closed for nearly a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is still planning a phased reopening when allowed.

Indoor venues could reopen from May 17 with social distancing and restrictions, with June 21 earmarked for a return to full audiences.

Manager Jo Potts, in the venue’s latest newsletter, writes: ‘We greet the latest Covid-19 Response news, as set out by the Prime Minister with cautious optimism. There is reason to be optimistic, as the Government’s roadmap offers dates to which we can start to plan and prepare for a return to indoor theatre which is the best news possible.

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Alnwick Playhouse.

‘However there are reasons to be cautious because these dates are dependent on the continued success of the vaccination roll-out and the data produced. The dates are subject to change with one week’s notice.

‘Also, the re-opening of indoor theatre shall be based on an Event’s Research Programme which is a series of test pilot events the Government have promised shall take place. Currently the industry is calling for clarity on the Event’s Research Programme which could help build audience confidence and offer an insight into best practice for re-opening safely.

‘Caution aside, the latest announcement is tremendously encouraging and if the proposed dates stay in place then the Playhouse shall return with a phased re-opening.’

Phase one will see the re-opening of McKenna’s café on the ground floor only.

Alnwick Playhouse.

Due to the limited foyer space the Playhouse Box Office will not be open in the foyer but it shall remain open online and for telephone enquiries and bookings.

Phase two will see the auditorium open on selected evenings with a socially distanced film or streamed programme.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce a further £408million support for museums, theatres and galleries in England in his budget.

He is reported to be planning to inject an extra £300m into the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, with museums and cultural bodies also receiving £90m to keep going until they can open their doors, plus £18.8m for community cultural projects.

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