Exactly a year after the first Covid-19 lockdown, we are now gearing up to open our doors with a huge lineup of events for 2021.
Following on from the successful trial of socially distanced performances over Christmas, the team here at the Pavilion Theatre in Gorleston is now preparing for the first performance of Showtime on May 18 and are promising a show packed full of song, dance and comedy – the perfect tonic to the difficulties of the past year.
The entire arts and live events industries has struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic, and whilst the Pavilion has been lucky to receive support from the Culture Recovery Fund and the Theatres Trust, it has been an extremely difficult year for the team.
Stuart Malkovich, theatre director, says: "We are extremely excited about letting people back into the building, I can’t recall when there has been a time like this where we haven’t been able to let anyone inside for such an extended period of time.
"It’s an odd way to put it, but the support we’ve received from the Culture Recovery Fund and the Theatres Trust has enabled us to pay the bills and keep the doors closed, albeit temporarily, rather than face anything more serious. We’re just very grateful that we’re still here and that we can finally start to plan to reopen properly."
We have also been using the lockdown to carry on with the building upgrades that it had already planned for 2020. "The silver lining in the difficulties that the pandemic brought us has meant that we have pushed ahead with the upgrades we had planned when it was safe to get back into the building after the first lockdown," says general manager Luke Thompson.
"We have focussed on upgrading the toilets and foyer area with new tiling and carpeting and have finally installed some new and long awaited heating and air conditioning systems, so our audiences should find themselves much more comfortable when they return."
From May 17, should the government’s lockdown plans go ahead as scheduled, we will be able to open to a limited audience size to achieve social distancing. We have planned a double bill of comedy plays alongside the much anticipated return of Summer Showtime.
A few weeks after that, we will be able to operate at full capacity from June 21, and have scheduled a full programme of plays, musicals, one-night specials, comedy and pantomimes to celebrate.
Whilst the pandemic obviously interrupted our usual programming schedule for 2020/21, the larger renovation plans, including refurbishment of the building were also put on hold. "2020 was due to be the year we finalised our five-year strategy to completely refurbish and restore this beautiful Edwardian building so that we could celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2026," says charity trustee, Alex Youngs.
"Unfortunately, the pandemic has put us back a year, but we will now spend the next few months getting our plans back on track and will announce how we are going to celebrate this milestone anniversary in the autumn."
Full details of our schedule of events can be found in our What's On section where you can also buy tickets, make donations to the theatre’s restoration fund and follow all the updates on how and when the theatre will reopen.
You can also call the Box Office on 01493 662832.