This week’s government announcement that step 3 of the roadmap will go ahead brought the news that theatres can reopen for socially distanced performances from Monday 17 May.
This was fantastic news for the whole entertainment industry and, at the Corn Exchange, it means we are very happy to confirm that our summer season can go ahead as planned with our jam-packed programme of both indoor and outdoor shows.
For us the season kicks off on Sunday 23 May with the first performance from our Out of Doors Festival, Farm Yard Circus. We will then be presenting outdoor shows and activities for all ages throughout the summer at various venues across the district.
Indoors at the Corn Exchange, our Intermediate Youth Theatre will take to the stage on Thursday 27 May with their performance of Vivienne Franzmann’s The It as part of NT Connections. This starts our summer of fabulous comedy, theatre, dance and music performances in our socially distanced auditorium. Those of you who visited us in the autumn will know that we rebuilt our seating to facilitate social distancing, with more space between rows, individual arm rests, and Perspex dividers separating bookings. This seating layout received a brilliant response from audiences and, coupled with our other Covid-secure measures such as reduced capacity, face coverings and increased cleaning, ensures a very comfortable experience for our visitors.
At The Base, the gallery reopens on Monday 17 May with a limited run of the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year 56. Having had a sneak peek this week, I can confirm you are in for a treat with these stunning images showing the diversity of our natural world, taken by photographers from around the globe.
Step 3 also means we can now welcome adults back for workshops and courses in the Learning Centre, in the Lookout Studio at The Base, and in Victoria Park and other town centre locations as part of the Out of Doors Festival. These offer much-needed opportunities for creative activity, exercise and social interaction which I know we have all been missing.
Thank you to everyone who has joined us for drinks and snacks in our outdoor seating area over the past few weeks. We have loved welcoming back familiar faces alongside new visitors and, as a charity, every purchase you make at the Corn Exchange Café and Bar helps to sustain all of the work we do. We’ve had a number of enquiries about food and, in response to this and your suggestions, will be sharing news of our new menu soon. From next week we will also be able to seat you inside so will be able to offer you a warm welcome whatever the weather!
This year has been the most challenging for us in our 27 years as an arts organisation and, as we take these first steps out of our third lockdown, we are truly grateful for the support that has been shown to us by our local community. We are now redoubling our fundraising efforts and asking everyone we know if they could join us as a Companion by becoming a Friend, Associate, Patron or Fellow to help us recover from the impact that the pandemic has had on our organisation. As a Companion, making a regular donation, you can make a significant impact on the work we do, playing a vital role in our future.
Creating this summer season has been an amazing team effort and everyone at the Corn Exchange is looking forward to getting back to presenting live events. We can’t wait to welcome you back very soon.