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The show can’t go on just yet - open air performers react to theatre changes

PUBLISHED: 19:00 10 July 2020

The Legend of King Arthur performed by Boxtree Productions Picture: GORDON SCAMMELL

The Legend of King Arthur performed by Boxtree Productions Picture: GORDON SCAMMELL

© Gordon Scammell 2019. All rights reserved. Gordon Scammell asserts his right to be indentified as the author of his photogra

Suffolk theatre companies say they are still unable to get back out on the road and perform, despite changes to lockdown rules.

James Franklin said he was pleased with the Government's news Picture: CHANON DE VALOISJames Franklin said he was pleased with the Government's news Picture: CHANON DE VALOIS

From Monday, outdoor theatre venues will be able to host performances for smaller than normal crowds.

Boxtree Productions should be touring their latest show, Alice in Wonderland, in outdoor venues around the country at the moment.

Instead the decision was taken several months ago to put a halt on the production.

James Franklin, the company’s managing director, said that he was pleased to hear the Government’s latest announcement but that it did not change things for them.

Jo Carrick artistic director of Red Rose Chain Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJo Carrick artistic director of Red Rose Chain Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“I welcome it,” said Mr Franklin. “We do find that open air theatre lends itself well to social distancing.”

Many of the challenges the company face are down to the restrictions placed on the actors themselves and the quarantine that would follow for the cast if anyone got ill.

“As much as we would love to bring a show, it’s one of our favourite times of the year, doesn’t mean we are able to,” said Mr Franklin.

“It feels like there is too much risk in terms of a financial perspective.”

Red Rose Chain were supposed to be performing Twelfth Night.

Jo Carrick, artistic director at the Red Rose Chain, said that it was important for the group to consider the safety of its audience too.

“We are very accessible. We often have audience members who are elderly people and those who are disabled.

“The idea of putting them at risk is particularly acute.”

Instead this year, Red Rose will host a production online while they consider next year’s event.

“We are doing ‘Theatre in the Forest’ at home this year,” said Ms Carrick

“There’s a lot of things that need to be in place, even without a pandemic.”

Looking forward Mr Franklin said that more needed to be done to help the wider theatre industry, both outdoors and indoors.

“I know it’s difficult for the Government but I think the industry needs a more detailed road map,” said Mr Franklin.

MORE: The latest changes to lockdown: what is reopening next and when


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