Tier 2 dashes Norwich theatre’s return to live performance

The Sewell Barn Theatre. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Sewell Barn Theatre. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

A Norwich theatre has been forced to cancel its planned return to live performances after Norfolk was placed into tier two coronavirus restrictions.

After nine months in the dark, the Sewell Barn Theatre was set to welcome audiences for a pre-Christmas production showcasing local acting and writing talent. 

Put Your Shorts On! was specifically designed for compliance with the Covid restrictions that apply to the non-professional performing arts.

The theatre, on Constitution Hill, had reduced capacity from 100 to 25, with social distancing between groups, and measures including pre-ordered interval refreshments served at seat and a one-way system in and out.

Zoom rehearsals for the Sewell Barn pre-Christmas show Put Your Shorts On! 

Zoom rehearsals for Put Your Shorts On! - Credit: Sewell Barn

Opening night had originally been planned for December 2, but had been re-rescheduled to December 16 when the second national lockdown was announced. 

The announcement that Norfolk will be under tier two when the current lockdown ends next week means the production will have to be rescheduled for a second time.

Chair of the theatre’s management committee, Jill Fuller, said: “We were devastated in March when we had to cancel much of our annual season, yet tried hard to remain positive. 

“It is dispiriting for our hopes to be dashed once again. Since we can’t perform in December, we will definitely be back as early in the new year as possible.”

Most Read

The show featuring 10 pieces ranging from drama to surreal comedy, has been developed by joint artist director Cassie Tillett and Clare Williamson. Rehearsals have mostly taken place on Zoom.

Sewell Barn Theatre joint artistic director Cassie Tillett.

Sewell Barn Theatre joint artistic director Cassie Tillett. - Credit: Sewell Barn Theatre

Ms Tillett said: “Tier 2 is deeply disappointing, since it means we cannot go ahead. However, the cast and crew are still determined to bring these wonderful short plays - created by local writers - to the theatre-going public as soon as we are allowed to do so, keeping theatre alive in Norwich."