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‘Celebration of all things theatre’ - Kenneth More to host one of the first live performances in the country

PUBLISHED: 14:03 30 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:03 30 July 2020

The Kenneth More Theatre was planning on being one of the first to stage live performances but had to cancel those plans after government guidelines changed on Friday. Picture: Vision RCL

The Kenneth More Theatre was planning on being one of the first to stage live performances but had to cancel those plans after government guidelines changed on Friday. Picture: Vision RCL

Archant

The Kenneth More Theatre, which served as a food bank at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, will re-open on Saturday with strict safety rules in place.

Christopher Marlowe is planning on previewing this year's panto at Saturday's performance. Picture: Vision RCLChristopher Marlowe is planning on previewing this year's panto at Saturday's performance. Picture: Vision RCL

The theatre, run by the council’s culture and leisure partner Vision RCL, will hold its first post-lockdown performance with a celebration of all things theatre.

Performers from the Redbridge Drama Centre, along with some surprise guests from the West End, will be putting on one of the first new theatre performances in the country.

Performers from Redbridge Drama Centre rehearsing for the big show. Picture: Vision RCLPerformers from Redbridge Drama Centre rehearsing for the big show. Picture: Vision RCL

Head of theatre Sally Polden said the original plan to re-open the venue was with cinema showings but once the government guidelines changed to pilot some indoor performances with strict safety measures in place, her team jumped at the opportunity.

She said: “We are just so excited and our performers are just thrilled to be able to get back on the stage.”

The original opening on August 1 was scrapped after the government changed its guidelines on indoor performances at the last minute. Picture: Vision RCLThe original opening on August 1 was scrapped after the government changed its guidelines on indoor performances at the last minute. Picture: Vision RCL

The capacity for the theatre has been slashed in half, with seats for just 150 people, whereas the theatre can hold 365 normally.

Audience members will be separated and there will be multiple exits and entrances to minimise the number of people together.

Head of theatre Sally Polden said she called in lots of favours with West End performers who will be making surprise appearances at the show. Picture: Vision RCLHead of theatre Sally Polden said she called in lots of favours with West End performers who will be making surprise appearances at the show. Picture: Vision RCL

There will be a one-way system in place for performers and singers on stage will only be permitted to sing back-to-back.

The front row of seats has been removed to further extend the space from the performers and the audience.

Since the Redbridge Drama Centre operates as a college course, which has been ongoing since June, the students are already in safety bubbles.

Those performers will remain in their individual bubbles for Saturday’s performance.

Tickets will be booked online with contact information provided so in case anyone tests positive for Covid-19 the staff will be able to inform everyone for the Test and Trace service.

Sally said Saturday’s show will be a test run to see how they can hold performances under the new guidelines and they have plans to offer cinema screenings and other performances.

For more information or to book tickets for Saturday’s performance at 7pm visit https://redbridgedramacentre.co.uk/RedbridgeDramaCentre.dll/WhatsOn?Programme=1328787

If you go to the show, email roy.chacko@archant.co.uk to let us know how it went and what you thought.


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