Norwich theatre reduces capacity to 100 seats to reopen in November
PUBLISHED: 18:31 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:31 01 September 2020
Six months after the stage curtain last rose, the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich is set to reopen in November but with a dramatic change in its operations.
Based in St John’s Alley, the 300-seat city centre theatre faced financial ruin following the global pandemic which has savaged the UK’s creative industries.
A change in business strategy and operational activities will see the local theatre, which celebrates its centenary in 2021, relaunching as Norwich’s Community Theatre when it restarts operations.
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“Over the past six months we have reviewed all our operations and have decided to go back to our roots,” said Maddermarket Theatre Trust chair, Paula Meir.
“We will become a hub for community theatre-based activity in Norfolk.”
Unlike many other theatres the Maddermarket has found a way to remove seating in its auditorium to ensure social distancing, reducing capacity to just over 100 seats.
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“We have to adapt to the new normal. We are determined that the Maddermarket will not only survive but will flourish as Norwich’s Community Theatre,” said Ms Meir.
She has been leading the board and management of the Maddermarket to shore up the theatre finances and devise a post-coronavirus recovery strategy.
She said: “There are going to be three strands to our future work: social prescribing; education; and theatre production. We are forming partnerships with key organisations across Norfolk, and will be placing the community at the heart of everything we do.”
The theatre will be releasing more details later this month but promises to re-open in November with a brand new community festival featuring some well-known Norfolk faces.
She said: “We will be releasing more details very shortly but we are planning a fantastic line-up in our new, week long, November festival.”
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Housed in a former chapel, the Maddermarket has entertained generations since it first opened its doors to the public in 1921 as the permanent home of the Guild of Norwich Players, a company of amateur actors brought together by theatre director Nugent Monck.
In recent years it has produced 11 in-house plays each year interspersed with visiting companies and some famous name artists mixing drama, classical and contemporary music, dance and comedy.
It has also been home to the Mad Red Theatre School, which offers drama classes and workshops.
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