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Coastal theatre postpones entire 2020 calendar over social distancing concerns

PUBLISHED: 12:42 15 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:42 15 August 2020

Gorleston's Pavilion Theatre has decided to postpone the shows lined up on its 2020 calendar - including the annual pantomime. Photo: Gorleston Pavilion Theatre

Gorleston's Pavilion Theatre has decided to postpone the shows lined up on its 2020 calendar - including the annual pantomime. Photo: Gorleston Pavilion Theatre

Archant

A coastal theatre is postponing its entire 2020 calendar over fears that socially distanced shows will not be profitable.

Gorleston Pavilion Theatre. Photo: Nick ButcherGorleston Pavilion Theatre. Photo: Nick Butcher

Gorleston’s Pavilion Theatre, which has been closed since lockdown was announced in March, is “asking for patience” as it plans to reschedule every 2020 show for similar or the same dates next year - including this year’s annual pantomime “Mother Goose”.

The announcement comes after the cancellation of the ‘Summer Laughter Show’, with box office staff now running a skeleton service to begin the process of contacting affected customers.

According to theatre director Stuart Malkovich, though the decision is disappointing, “day to day changes” in government advice make it impossible to plan ahead.

He said: “Whilst we understand that some things are starting to get back to normal, the advice from the government changes sometimes day to day, so we’ve had to be very careful about what we announce and how far ahead we plan in case things don’t work out as expected or government plans change again.

“The classic example of this has been the latest government announcement postponing the August 1 return to indoor performances for 2 weeks.

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“We’re now asking for patience from everyone who has tickets with us. We’re a very small staff at the moment so it is going to take us some time to work through all of the bookings.”

He added: “For us and pretty much all other theatres in the UK, socially distanced performances are extremely difficult to put on without losing money, so we have to think very hard about how this works for us and when we are able to open our doors again.

“Our cabaret style seating obviously helps us to achieve social distancing, but postponing the rest of this year’s shows really has been the only option and it allows us to focus on making 2021 a bumper year for our customers.”

However, general manager Luke Thompson said it wasn’t all bad news, and that virtual tours of the building were hopefully going up online next week, with recorded live performances to follow in September.

He said: “We’re also planning to take advantage of the quiet period to make adjustments to the new interior.

It’s been a difficult year for us all but our 2021 calendar is already full to the brim.”

Gift vouchers and theatre memberships have also been extended for one year.


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