DROITWICH’S Norbury Theatre will reopen its doors to the public on Wednesday, December 23, exactly ten months after the first UK lockdown began.
The film Last Christmas will be the shown that night with more planned for January, February and March, along with screenings of ballets, operas and other stage shows.
The first live production will be Charley’s Aunt in May, followed by Legally Blond in the summer, Goodnight Mr Tom in September, 9 to 5 later in the autumn and the return of panto – Snow White in January, 2022.
Chairman Anne Lane and a small band of volunteers have been working hard, when restrictions allowed, to improve the venue and make it Covid-secure.
And, whilst the pandemic has had a devastating effect on theatres and the performing arts world, it has enabled the Norbury to carry out much-needed maintenance work.
A water leak and flood damage has led to a revamp of the foyer which was stripped back to the brickwork, replastered, repainted and had a new carpet.
Other improvements have been made to other parts of the building.
Anne said when it reopened the Norbury would be in much better shape than it was before the lockdown, apart from the heating system in the main auditorium.
That has been condemned but a £5,000 crowdfunding drive, for a new modern system, is now up to more than £1,100.
Anne told the Standard: “It was really strange closing the doors in March and not knowing when we would be able to reopen again.
“The extra time we have had has enabled us to get a lot of things done but it has been a horrendous time for everyone in the performing arts world.
“I especially feel sorry for those in the West End who opened for three nights last week and then had to close when the restrictions changed.”
People heading to the Norbury need to book tickets online in advance or at the booking office, at least an hour before the show, to enable the social distancing to be organised. The Ticketsource system, which issues the Norbury’s tickets, works out the seating arrangements for bubbles, making ample space to the sides, front and back.
Viewers are also advised to wrap up warm because of the heating issues.
Coun Richard Morris has put together a video about the Norbury improvements on his Facebook page.
Click here to see it.
And the team at the Norbury have also put together a video called ‘A Droitwich Christmas’ which should be available to view online this weekend.
It features the Salvation Army, carols, a crib service with Rev Laura Handy, poems, the Mayor of Droitwich Coun Bill Moy, stories and even an panto dame appearance.
Anne said: “It might be an odd year, but it’s still Christmas.”