Covid-19 safety measures for concert-goers as live music returns to Snape Maltings

PUBLISHED: 19:00 16 August 2020

The world famous Snape Maltings concert venue Picture: MATT JOLLY

The world famous Snape Maltings concert venue Picture: MATT JOLLY

Matt Jolly

Suffolk’s world famous Snape Maltings concert hall will this week become one of the first venues in the UK to return to staging regular events for a live audience.

Sheku snd Isata Kanneh-Mason who will be performing at Snape Maltings Picture: COURTESY BRITTEN PEARS ARTSSheku snd Isata Kanneh-Mason who will be performing at Snape Maltings Picture: COURTESY BRITTEN PEARS ARTS

Bringing together some of the musicians who would have performed during this year’s Aldeburgh Festival and Snape Proms, in addition to other star performers, Britten Pears Arts will be offering short concerts every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the rest of August and into the autumn.

The opening events on Friday, August 21 will feature the Chineke! Chamber Ensemble, a group of players from the UK’s first black and ethnic minority orchestra, followed on Saturday, August 22 by violinist Tasmin Little and pianist Martin Roscoe, and young classical superstar siblings Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason on Sunday, August 23.

The safety of audience members, artists and staff is the top priority and there will be many new measures in place including greatly reduced capacity in the Concert Hall to prioritise audience safety and ensure there is enough space around everyone, and there will be shorter performances of around 45 minutes with no interval which will allow time for cleaning between each performance.

Concert-goers will be required to wear face coverings during the performance unless they are exempt as per the government guidelines

Snape Maltings Concert Hall is ready to stage live music again Picture: MATT JOLLYSnape Maltings Concert Hall is ready to stage live music again Picture: MATT JOLLY

There will be no printed materials and this includes tickets, programmes and programme notes.

With safety in mind, line-ups and capacity may change at short notice.

Roger Wright, chief executive of Britten Pears Arts, said: “The impact of the pandemic continues to be enormously challenging for the performing arts sector.

“We have all greatly missed the thrill of live music-making and can’t wait to welcome musicians and audiences back to Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

“With the current guidelines and with safety as our top priority, we are fortunate that you have to drive, cycle or walk to Snape and, once here, that we have a large amount of space and fresh air, making it relatively straightforward to offer the necessary distance for the public.

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“We hope to see old friends and make new ones through our ‘Pay What You Can’ afternoon performance offer.

“As one of the first music venues and organisations to pilot a return to indoor concerts, we are aiming to help build confidence again in the presentation of live events and will share our learnings with colleagues in the music sector.”

Britten Pears Arts said it was grateful to supporters and sponsors of this pilot series, including Aldeburgh Fish & Chips, Fishers Gin, and Suffolk Secrets.

There will be two performances per day (2pm and 7pm), as well as a host of free pop-up outdoor performances over the next few weeks.

Tickets for the August 21-23 events are on sale at

The second weekend will welcome songs and stories from singer and entertainer Joe Stilgoe (August 28), the London Philharmonic Orchestra strings conducted by Edward Gardner (August 29) and accordionist Samuele Telari performing JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations (August 30). The ticket on sale date will be announced soon.

The programme beyond August will be revealed later in the month and will feature a broad range of music, with artists including saxophonist Jess Gillam, pianists Clare Hammond and Julian Joseph, folk musicians Kathryn Tickell and Amy Thatcher, and the Elias Quartet.

There will also be opportunities for young musicians to perform, as part of Britten Pears Arts year-round programme of support and development.

To give as many people as possible the opportunity to enjoy the return of live music, Britten Pears Arts is offering an innovative ticket approach for its afternoon concerts.

Every 2pm performance across the weekends will be ‘Pay What You Can’, so that audiences can hear 45 minutes of high-quality live music at a price they feel they can afford.

All evening performances will be priced at £15 per ticket.

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