Theatres to re-open in Shadwell, Dalston and Croydon as lockdown eases

Theatres to re-open soon. Pic: Kilyan Sockalingum

Theatre-lovers in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Croydon will be able to attend live performances in the coming weeks after restrictions lift further on May 17.

Wilton’s Music Hall in Shadwell will open for its first show, EastEndless on May 28. The comical play following the lead character in his dream job on Eastenders that soon turns to a nightmare will have a running time of one hour.

Their website states: “Wilton’s has been granted the use of Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre’s ‘See It Safely’ mark”, providing audience members with the comfort of all safety precautions in place before arriving to the event.” 

Wilton’s Music Hall also has a number of other shows available across the coming months, including plays, musicals and concerts.

Croydon’s Ashcroft Playhouse will also be re-opening their doors on June 4 with 49 new productions including live music from a variety of genres and family pantomime’s such as the Little Mermaid.

Not all theatres have been able to open in their usual setting and the Arcola theatre in Dalston, Hackney, which usually provides a range of original and classic shows, has had to transform their space to adapt with the changing rules and regulations. In October 2020, Arcola announced their plans to build an outdoor performance space and bar so that they can continue running safely.

On April 2, 2021 they said: ‘We’re pleased to announce that Arcola Theatre has been awarded £148,080 from the second round of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).’

The CRF has helped over 2,000 arts organisations from a total of £261 million.

In Lewisham, The Albany, a Deptford performing arts centre has used their closure to showcase online events. ‘Meet Me on the Radio’, a chat show with artists and discussing creative ventures, is available to tune into every Tuesday at 11.30am.

CEO and Artistic Director of The Albany, Gavin Barlow, said: “The impact of COVID-19 has been extremely tough on most businesses, and none more so than the creative industries. In Lewisham many are small and medium enterprises and the loss of income from commissions, events and visitors has been hard to bear, putting many at risk.”

A spokesperson for The Office of National Statistics said: ‘For cinemas and theatres, the enforced closure saw trade down to just 10% of pre-pandemic levels, with many closing altogether.” Not only has Covid-19 affected theatres and their audience, but the ONS also analysed that over 55,000 people working within the arts industry have lost their jobs since the initial lockdown in March 2020.

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