It was a sad but inevitable day, when the creative industries across the UK closed on March 16, 2020, following the government’s advice for people to avoid gathering in public buildings.
The impact of the coronavirus on live art such as theatre, concerts and stand-up comedy performances has been dreadful. Independent theatres and individual freelance, self employed creatives, like those who come to our Theatre Shop, have been amongst the most vulnerable. Cuts were made, jobs were culled and many regional theatres wondered if they would ever reopen!
How happy was I to learn that after a hiatus of nearly six months, theatres were once again allowed to open! Having said that, I remained concerned for our very own Theatre Shop and just as I was about to get in touch, an e mail drops into my in box, proudly announcing their Autumn Winter programme for 2020! I was joyous!
A lot of planning has gone into bringing back some of the shows that would have featured in their celebratory Spring/Summer season, which would have seen them toasting five years of Theatre Shop.
This season, their focus will be on bringing some life, laughter and culture back into the town centre, whilst taking care that customers, performers and volunteers are all operating in a covid-secure format. Capacity for all shows is greatly reduced, to allow for social distancing, therefore tickets are limited and expected to sell-out quickly. See the end of the post for details of exactly what they have done to make Theatre Shop safe and secure.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding changes in government guidelines and the ability to add extra shows where possible, it would be a good idea to keep checking the Theatre Shop website and social media channels for updates. http://www.theatreshop.org.uk
These are the confirmed shows with more expected to follow soon:
19th – 24th October 7.30pm, 12+. Living Spit – The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Kicking off the season with some home-grown comic histrionics. Following sell-out runs at Bristol Old Vic, a UK-wide tour including the Edinburgh Fringe and critically acclaimed shows in London.
With live original music, embroidery, barbie dolls, silly songs and historical hysteria, this promises to be an ill-researched lesson in cross-dressing Tudor history that you’ll never forget.
‘Brilliant comic acting… honest, unpretentious, beautifully scripted comedy…. premier league stuff’ Venue ★★★★★
6th November 7.30pm, 12+. David Mynne – Great Expectations. Based on Dickens’ original text (well, mostly!) David Mynne takes you on a journey that brings you a ‘cast of thousands’ in a skilful, one-man adaptation of this epic story. Be prepared to be scared, amazed, cry and laugh…a lot.
“This unique version of Great Expectations – billed as ‘deft, dark, delightful and definitely Dickens’ – is both mesmerising and joyful, and I loved every second of it. Faultless.” Artsreach
8th November 2.30pm, 5+. Wild Words – Dylan’s Invisible Friend. Join Wild Words in their latest family show that fuses the artistry of Dylan Thomas with echoes of Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Cohen, atmospheric Jazz and sea shanties, through the musicianship of Tim Hill (reeds), Martin Solomon (strings) alongside storyteller/ storywriter Michael Loader (horns).
Well-honed melodies, spontaneous mayhem, crazy characters and overtones of hoover drones all abound in a profound message about finding what you like doing and making your own special friend.
“Fantastic show for families. Engaging and beautiful blend of story, poetry and song” St George’s Bristol
13th November 7.30pm, 14+. Luke Wright – The Remains of Logan Dankworth. The third of Luke Wright’s trilogy of political verse plays looks at trust and privilege in the age of Brexit, performed in Wright’s breath-taking verse. Logan Dankworth, columnist and Twitter warrior, grew up romanticising the political turmoil of the 1980s. Now, as the EU referendum looms, he is determined to be in the fray of the biggest political battle for years.
“Poet Luke Wright doesn’t mince his words. His performances rumble with rage, passion and humour. You will leave his show brimming with energy, heart pounding and brain whirring.” The Guardian
Welcome back Theatre Shop! You have been missed!
COVID 19 Information direct from the Theatre Shop
“You’ll have noticed that we’ve raised ticket prices by £3 (and dropped our booking discount schemes) to try and make these performances financially possible for ourselves and for the performing companies. As I’m sure you’ll understand, we’re having to absorb more costs than we are used to so we hope that you can help us with that.
We’ll be following a new cleaning routine, ensuring all high contact areas (such as seat backs, stair handrail, toilet area) are cleaned before and after performances. Our staff and volunteers will all be wearing appropriate face coverings and there will be hand sanitiser points at the front door and at the top and bottom of the stairs.
Government guidelines keep changing but as it stands, we can only admit up to 6 people per booking from 1 household/bubble. Therefore we ask you to make sure that you book only for your ‘bubble’ as seating will be arranged in these pre-booked groups. Social distancing of 1m+ will be observed around these ‘bubbles’ . All bookings will have to include a lead booker phone number which will be passed to the Track and Trace service if that becomes necessary.
We‘ll allocate you with specific seats and you’ll be directed to these seats as a group on arrival. (You might need to wait outside for a while so that we can seat groups in the safest order possible). We’ve reduced the capacity of Theatre Shop to approximately a third of the usual amount so you shouldn’t have more than one person in front of you, and we think that all the seats will have a good view and plenty of leg room!
To help with social distancing when using the stairs to access the loos, we’re going to set up a stop/go system to allow access upstairs, with a socially distanced queuing system in the bar area which will keep everyone safely distanced.
We won’t be opening the bar but you can pre-order your drink when you buy your ticket and it will be waiting for you when you arrive!
To maximise ventilation in Theatre Shop, we will be keeping windows and doors open on the stairs and in the bar area to improve fresh air flow. This might mean it gets a bit cold, so don’t forget warm clothing. You’ll also have to wear a face covering, as required by law, except at your seats while drinks are being consumed, so don’t forget your mask/snood/Darth Vader helmet.
Phew! As you can see, there’s loads of new stuff that we’ve got to get our heads around, and please remember that Theatre Shop is staffed by volunteers, so please be gentle with us!”