Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre will be closing its doors to the public again from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December, re-opening on Thursday 3 December.
But in the light of last night’s confirmation from culture secretary Oliver Dowden that rehearsals can continue behind closed doors, the theatre will be going ahead with its vibrant Christmas production of The Snow Queen throughout December.
The North Yorkshire theatre had re-opened its cinema in late August and has been presenting live theatre from the beginning of October - one of the first theatres in the country to do so.
It is now moving November’s live shows – My Favourite Summer and Orpheus & Eurydice, plus play readings Canton, Worldly and With Bells On! – to the spring. New dates will be announced as soon as possible.
As much of the November cinema programme as possible will be moved to December – again, new dates will be announced as soon as possible.
Haunting Julia, an audio version of a classic Alan Ayckbourn play directed and performed by Alan himself, is unaffected – theatre goers who prefer to stay at home can book to listen between 1 December and 5 January via the theatre’s website.
The sold-out concert by local group Raven on 15 December will also go ahead as planned.
The theatre’s box office team is currently working hard to contact everyone with bookings affected by the changes, who can choose whether they’d like a refund; a credit to their account; or to donate the cost of their ticket to help secure the theatre’s future.
People with bookings are asked not to contact the box office if possible – they’re working their way through November’s bookings in date order as fast as they can.
The SJT’s executive director, Caroline Routh, says: “Of course, it’s a huge disappointment to us all to have to close again – our audiences have been so appreciative of the fact that we reopened our cinema in August and recommenced live theatre at the start of October, and really generous in their support in so many ways.
“Most of our recent screenings and shows, including John Godber’s Sunny Side Up! just last week, have sold out, although our capacities have been reduced because of social distancing.
“But the safety of our audience, our in-house team and our visiting companies is, of course, paramount – when we do re-open, we‘ll still be following the same stringent safety procedures that have made our audiences feel so safe recently.
“And we’re so thrilled that we’re still able to bring The Snow Queen to Scarborough for Christmas – it promises to be a really lively and memorable show, starring the fabulous Polly Lister and, on certain performances, her talented ‘alternate’ Jacoba Williams. We’re confident it’ll be a Christmas must-see for 2020!”
If you do need to contact the box office for any reason, you can do so on 01723 370541, between 10am and noon, Mondays to Fridays, until 2 December (phone queries only – the building will not be open for in-person visits). Tickets for all December events can still be booked online through the lockdown period: www.sjt.uk.com