Century-old theatre reopening for first time since covid lockdown
- Credit: Maddermarket Theatre
The stage is set for a century-old Norwich Lanes theatre to reopen after months of closure from the covid pandemic.
The Maddermarket Theatre, on Saint John's Alley, born out of a derelict Roman Catholic chapel, is relaunching this summer with an adapted version of Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor.
From August 27-30, The Merry Wives of Norwich will be performed by the theatre's in-house amateur group - the Norwich Players - in the venue's outdoor courtyard in front of 50 people.
Laura Landamore, who is on the board of trustees, said: "When a theatre goes dark it is a strange and eerily sad feeling. The lockdown was a horrible few months but we remained positive.
"There was a sense of frustration and loss. For some of the volunteers it is a way of life for them. There is nothing like live theatre."
She added the volunteers who help keep the theatre running were like family and the venue created a "great sense of community".
Ahead of the outdoor show, Miss Landamore said: "There is a buzz and a lovely vibe around the theatre."
The first indoor performance will be One Man, Two Guvnors by Sound Ideas Theatre Company, a professional group, which runs from September 7 until September 11 and future performances include a comedy performance by I'm A Celebrity star and The Inbetweeners actor Emily Atack on October 2.
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All shows inside will be shown to a full-capacity audience of 300 people but Miss Landamore said the theatre would work with government guidelines if needed and said it would be appreciated, but not mandatory, for theatre-goers to wear masks when walking around.
Other safety measures will include keeping doors open for ventilation and having hand sanitiser available.
She added: "Our money comes from bums on seats so it is important people come to support us. That is why we are putting on such an eclectic season for 2021/22. The Maddermarket Theatre is a charming place."
The board member said she wanted a variety of theatre groups and businesses to use the space which will celebrate its centenary this year and next year.
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