Posted: Thu 8th Oct 2020

Chester Storyhouse situation “steadily worse” as they wait for UK government support

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Oct 8th, 2020

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Storyhouse say their financial situation has become “steadily worse” as they continue to wait for news on UK governmental support regarding the theatre industry.

Local lockdowns across the UK will now have an impact on Chester’s Storyhouse, who have decided to step up their ‘Save Storyhouse’ campaign to help raise awareness for their perilous position.

They have requested over £700k from the UK government’s delayed ‘Cultural Recovery Fund’ and says its immediate future relies heavily on receiving said support.

CEO Andrew Bentley says the organisation can still come through but not without significant support.

He said: “I’ve been so overwhelmingly proud of what we have achieved since lockdown in March. We were the first theatre, first library and first cinema in the UK to re-open and now we are one of only a small handful of venues to put on a Christmas show.

“Staying open when so many others are closed is a really hard position to be in, especially in this current climate, but we are in a fight for survival and this is how we fight. We are open simply to preserve jobs and to serve our community, it’s all we can do, and the least we should do.

“The situation however could not be more serious for us than it is right now, with two thirds of the country’s theatres still could be out of business by Christmas. We need to get through this period successfully if we are to avoid that fate.”

Storyhouse’s Artistic Director Alex Clifton has written and is directing ‘A Christmas Carol’ which will run from 7 November until 18 January.

Audiences are limited to 180 per performance, compared to the 480 allowed normally, and they will be spaced out during the show which will run without an interval.

The venue is also introducing a new service for customers to order drinks from their seats as well as in advance.

“We would hope that everyone will buy a ticket for Christmas as we go full steam ahead with preparations for ‘A Christmas Carol’, it really is the best way to help us right now,” Bentley said.

“The show must go on – we’ll take any lockdowns and circuit breakers in our stride and will do our best to ensure that everyone gets to see the show, so customers can buy with confidence.

“We’re making all the usual preparations for a wonderful family Christmas.

“We’ll find a way of making sure Christmas happens in Chester, come hellish lockdown or high water.”

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