Like most of theatres and venues in the UK Melton Theatre has had to close since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Recently Melton Theatre has cancelled all remaining shows for 2020 including both pantomimes and is issuing refunds on already purchased tickets.
Even while some events are returning locally given social distancing measures and strict rules around 6 people inside the theatre cannot currently open.
Lisa Craddock, Vice Principle in Business Development and Head of Melton Theatre said: "Unfortunately given the present situation regarding the ongoing risk of COVID19 the SMB Group (Brooksby Melton College) is unable to re-open the College Theatre to external companies including community groups or professional theatre companies."
The theatre has been at the heart of the community for many years and has hosted many household names including Lee Evans, Russell Howard, John Challis and Alan Carr but there are no signs of when shows will start to return.
Ms Craddock continued:" Given the current social distancing regulations it would not be possible to sell tickets in the Theatre and ensure our financial viability as audience members (even in small family groups) would have to sit 2 metres away from anyone else. This would mean that a maximum of 65 tickets could be sold for an individual performance within the 330 seat auditorium. The Theatre unfortunately does not have adequate air circulation systems to open and be covid safe. We also have to bear in mind the safety of our front of house volunteers, who all tend to be retired ladies and gentlemen and consequently in a high risk category regarding COVID19. Performers using the wings and dressing rooms would also not be able to remain socially distant, given the small amount of space available."
One of the Theatre's highlights is Christmas time when local arts schools and Touring Panto Company Trio Entertainment wow crowds with their pantomimes, both of which are cancelled this year at the Theatre.
Lisa Craddock continued: " We appreciate and value the community and professional links and groups that Melton Theatre has worked with previously, but given the above we cannot enter into any contractual arrangements or commit to any future bookings for the Theatre for the foreseeable future. We do not anticipate this situation to change until the risk of COVID19 has been eliminated or reduced to an immaterial level which is impossible to predict at the current time. We also cannot predict what the financial situation of the Theatre will be at that time. This will be a key part of our decision making for the future as the Theatre receives no funding support from local or regional councils and therefore our allocation of public funds has to be prioritised for our learners."
"We will constantly review our position and sincerely hope that this situation will change"
Eastenders Actor Ricky Groves during the Trio's version of 'Aladdin' last year. Photo: NEMM.