‘This ship will not go down on my watch’ - Defiant message of venue boss in face of Covid-19

Norwich Arts Centre director Pasco-Q Kevlin is confident the venue can weather the storm of the Covi

Norwich Arts Centre director Pasco-Q Kevlin is confident the venue can weather the storm of the Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

“This ship will not go down on my watch - we will be back.”

This is the defiant message from the director of one of the region’s most cherished live music venues as it awaits the day it can once again operate.

Like venues across the nation, the Norwich Arts Centre has been closed since March, with public gatherings ruled out by Covid-19 restrictions.

The venue, which was singled out as the country’s best small music venue by the NME in 2014, was also in the midst of a major renovation when lockdown was came in - but the brakes have had to be slammed on the project for now.

However, Pasco-Q Kevlin, the venue’s director, is determined to complete the project whatever it takes and - once it is safe to do so - bring the Norwich Arts Centre back fighting.

He said: “We have taken a massive hit from this, like any other venue, however, I’m ever going to cry about it when people are working their socks off on the frontline to save lives - that’s not going to happen.

“People have been extremely generous to us, when offering refunds most people have instead chosen to donate towards the renovation instead, which we are hugely grateful for. We’ve probably been donated around £4,000 in declined refunds.”

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However, Mr Kevlin admitted that the venue was already having to look at various different ways of operation once it can return to action.

He said: “As a venue we are all about the up close and personal experience - being able to smell the lead guitarist - but we may have to accept that it could be a long time before live music can be done in the same way again. None of us really know what post Covid life will be like and not knowing is the hardest thing.

“However, this business is all about ideas and we’re having all kinds of talks about ways we can operate in the future, how we can make the most of digital experiences and still do what we do best. We have a fantastic team and we will be back as soon as we can.

“My message to people who love the venue is do not forget us - this ship will not go down on my watch.”