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  • Writer's pictureNEMM

‘We Are Constantly Reviewing Our Position’ concerns grow for Melton Theatre

Coronavirus has seen the boards of Melton Theatre in Asfordby Road getting dustier by the month as all shows were cancelled.

Concerns are growing about the sustainability of the town’s popular entertainment venue and a petition has been set up to show support for the independent venue.

Hundreds of Melton residents have shared and signed the petition as Melton Theatre have cancelled all 2020 shows as a result of the pandemic.

The theatre has been very popular in recent years hosting warm up shows for Alan Carr, Lee Evans and Russell Howard as well as visits from Only Fools and Horses Actor John Challis and X-Factor singer Joe McElderry.

However current restrictions on gatherings and live entertainment have seen a pause to all shows.

When asked about the closure rumours today (Monday) Lisa Craddock, Vice Principle Business Development said: “I can confirm that the position of the Brooksby Melton College Theatre hasn’t changed. We are constantly reviewing our position and cannot at this stage confirm our future plans.”

NEMM contacted SMB Group who operate Brooksby Melton College in October to find out the position of the theatre.

Speaking last month Ms Craddock 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.

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.

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 – and we will be in touch immediately if it does, however we can’t at this stage confirm our future plans.”

The theatre cancelled all 2020 shows earlier this year due to the pandemic. Including the hugely popular Pantomime performed by Trio Entertainment who have brought much joy to Melton residents and included such celebrity guests as EastEnders actor Ricky Groves and Coronation Street’s Stephen Arnold.

The theatre has supported lots of local groups and events in recent years.

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