THE Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis will not be reopening its doors just yet, despite the government giving the go-ahead for non-live performances.
The theatre closed at the end of March as coronavirus restrictions were implemented and, while pubs, shops, and cinemas are now reopening, live entertainment is still not possible indoors under current rules.
To keep in touch with its audience during lockdown, the Marine has staged online events such as its Sunday Sessions and a screening of the community play written to celebrate its 125th anniversary last year.
It is also looking at whether a few outdoor performances are safe and viable this summer, but it will not be opening for non-live indoor performances just yet.
It is possible that socially-distanced live events may be allowed in the medium term. However, even at one metre distance, the capacity of the arts venue would be reduced by two-thirds, which is unlikely to make most performances financially possible.
As a result, the Marine is reviewing costs and raising money, while looking forward to the lifting of restrictions that will make live performances more viable in the historic building.
The Marine has been able to weather the crisis so far through its small reserves, generous public donations, and grants.
Members of the public have been donating to a reopening fund, details of which are on the website www.marinetheatre.com/reopen-the-marine-theatre-fund/. So far, just over £5,000 has been raised towards the theatre’s target of £21,000.
Theatre director Gabby Rabbitts said: “We are working hard to raise funds and reduce costs, so we are confident that we will open again in the coming months.
“Like everyone, we are in an evolving situation where public safety is a priority and restrictions are out of our control. That makes it hard to predict a reopening date.
“I’d like to personally thank all those that have donated to our reopening fund, which is really helping us.
“Better times will come when we can welcome our volunteers and audiences back to enjoy music, comedy, and other performances, along with all the wonderful socialising that comes with those things.”