Sheffield theatres in no rush to return to full audiences as Government Covid restrictions set to end on July 19

Sheffield theatres have given a cautious response to the news today that the Government will ease lockdown restrictions from July 19 to allow venues to open without limits on audience numbers.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 5:37 pm
Updated Monday, 5th July 2021, 5:41 pm

Management at three major city venues instead stress safety and building confidence.

Sheffield Theatres artistic director Robert Hastie said: “The safety of our audiences, staff, and casts has been paramount throughout the last 18 months, and continues to be top of our agenda.

“Audience confidence is key as we look forward to opening all three of our theatres once more.

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“In April we were able to open as the first pilot in the Events Research Programme, to understand how theatres and indoor venues can come back safely. Since then it has been thrilling to welcome audiences back to the Crucible for the Together Season Festival and now for Victoria Wood’s Talent (which continues until July 24, with no changes made to the seating plan as advertised).

“We’re so grateful for all the support that we have received and it has been wonderful to hear such positive responses from our audiences about their visit.

“And while we’re excited to welcome everyone back, we know there are some who will take a little longer to be able to return in person, and we will therefore continue to make live streaming and digital broadcast a key part of our offer to audiences.”

Theatre Deli on Eyre Street said: “Theatre Deli is fortunate to have received much-needed support from DCMS and the Arts Council which means that the direct impact of the roadmap on our survival is reduced.

"We are open and welcoming groups and artists to work with us in a Covid-safe way. But this is not true for many individuals and organisations in the arts across Sheffield and the UK, that are still unable to work at capacity and have not received significant support.

"We are excited to welcome audiences back to our venue and provide support and work to artists and freelancers in Sheffield, especially as part of our newly-announced autumn season. But more than this, we are only in favour of relaxing restrictions when it is safe, and we hope that no-one in our industry is forced through lack of support to go back to work before it is safe.”