Wolverhampton Grand Theatre determined to bring curtain up next month

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is still pressing ahead with its December reopening, despite the second national lockdown looming.

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre in Lichfield Street
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre in Lichfield Street

Only last week, the historic city centre venue revealed plans to bring socially distanced shows to the stage after being given more than £1 million in funding.

The first performance will be An Evening with Kevin and Jo Clifton, the ex-Strictly Come Dancing brother and sister duo, on December 6, and will be followed by several film screenings in the weeks after.

Adrian Jackson, CEO and artistic director at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, said: "We are still planning to reopen in December for our socially distanced season, unless told otherwise by the Government.

"The season launched last week, and sales were fantastic. Our audience clearly can't wait to be back.

"Government guidelines state that rehearsals are also classed as work, therefore actors will go into rehearsal for our Intro To Pantomime this month."

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Meanwhile the Prince of Wales Theatre in Cannock had been due to reopen its doors on Monday – but had to put the brakes on the plans after the four-week lockdown was announced on Saturday.

Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles who manage the theatre on behalf of Cannock Chase District Council are in the process of contacting customers and making alternative arrangements for performances scheduled for the coming weeks.

Richard Kay, Prince of Wales Theatre manager, said: “We are of course very disappointed not to have been able to open as planned this week but we look forward to welcoming guests back once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

"We have been able to ensure safety measures are in place and that we are able to hit the ground running once we have the all clear to open our doors and turn on the stage lights once more."

The chief executive officer at the Light House in Wolverhampton said she feels like the venue is in "limbo". Kelly Jeffs said: "Being able to plan is so difficult, the goalposts change the whole time. We're a very layered business. We're not just a cinema, we're a cafe and bar, a meeting space, a gallery.

"We didn't just want to open one bit of it, it wouldn't have been worthwhile. We did start an action plan but that all had to be paused again.

"We're still pending funding from the arts recovery fund, which we're hoping will come from the BFI (British Film Industry). But we don't know yet.

"We'd like to open in December but we have some big decisions to make if we don't get the funding, regardless of Covid.

"We feel like we're in limbo."

While the Light Cinema in Walsall will close from Thursday. A spokesman said: "Following a busy half term and Halloween the team at Walsall are disappointed that they are going to have to close but are hugely grateful for the ongoing support that they have received from guests who have shown that they still believe in the big screen experience.

"The Light will be monitoring the situation closely and keeping their website updated, posting on social media and emailing all of their members as soon as they have plans for reopening. The Light will continue to work hard to ensure that they deliver a great and safe experience and look forward to welcoming guests back as soon as conditions allow."

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