It's the question we are most asked, by our friends, fans, family, and any random stranger who finds out we're a theatre show. The truth is we have no idea! There are many different theories floating around, these are our thoughts on the matter..
When most people think of theatre they no doubt think of their local theatre and the great touring productions and panto's they have seen there. Unfortunately when the government thinks of theatre they think of London's west end and have been taking advice from that area. It's fair to say that owners of big west end productions don't really have much incentive to open at this current time as their business comes primarily from tourists and at the moment London has no tourists. They cannot function on a 50% capacity, they need a full house every night at premium prices to keep the wheels turning and until that crowd is in place it makes no financial sense for them to open at 50% capacity and they will not be lobbying for this to happen. The sad thing is with this situation is that many local and regional theatres and the touring productions that frequent them have regularly not just survived on 50% capacity but actually made money from it. Many 600 seat venues sell 300 seats a night and do quite well from it so it would be nice for the option to be given. Many of us feel that if you can get on a plane with 300 other people for 4 hours then really you should be able to sit in a theatre with 300 other people for 2 hours.
Earlier this week the government announced a financial injection into the sector. While this is more than welcomed two things remain unclear, firstly will this money filter down to the likes of us? will a person who plays the piano in a small touring production get compensated for having their only form of work banned or will it just float around at the top of the tree and not really hit the roots? - The second thing that is unclear is if this cash injection is to fix the damage done, to stimulate the rebuilding of the industry or is it cash that is being given to help though the forthcoming? No-one knows.
The only thing we do know is this, we're ready and willing to go back to work, If they allow us to do it in October then we'll do it in October, If it's March 2021 then we'll be there in March 2021 and on the very slim chance that the government turns around in two weeks and says 'go for it' then we'll be ready. It would be nice if some of the seaside towns in the UK, which will no doubt be busier than usual this year due to "staycations" are allowed to open their fantastic theatres, unlikely, but if they are then you might find us doing a summer night show in Blackpool, Weymouth, Weston-super-mare, Southend on Sea, etc.
The work that has been piled on and dealt with by the box offices, the venue managers, the tour bookers, the programmers and the diary keepers has been unprecedented, some of our dates have been changed three or four times so far and each time a new date needs to be found, one that doesn't clash with our schedule or theirs, websites changed, customers informed, posters re-printed, the work that goes into changing a shows date is huge and these guys have to do it for every show that moved, they really have been heros in all of this.
We will endeavor to keep you updated with everything as and when it happens but at this time we probably know as much as you do.