Bosses of Lynn’s biggest theatre have revealed plans which they hope will see live shows return to the venue.
Officials from the town’s Corn Exchange say they are in talks with promoters about staging performances in front of socially distanced audiences over the coming months.
Borough councillors heard this week that the requirement could see the theatre’s seating capacity cut by as much as 75 per cent.
But venue manager Philip Bayfield said: “We need to do something with live theatre to get things moving.”
The issues were outlined during a presentation made to members of West Norfolk Council’s regeneration and development panel at a meeting on Tuesday.
Mr Bayfield said the current plan for the theatre envisaged seating capacity for 197 in what he described as “the worst case scenario”, reduced from the normal 700.
He acknowledged that many shows would not be viable with that capacity.
But he revealed that the promoter of one production, Bye Bye Baby, has agreed to bring the show to the Corn Exchange in February for a reduced audience.
He added: “Fingers crossed other promoters will start agreeing to do this, so we can have live theatre early in 2021.”
A number of other socially distanced events, including a Strictly Come Dancing-themed show and comedy nights featuring top performers such as Marcus Brigstocke and Rich Hall, have had to be called off because of the second lockdown.
But the meeting heard some of the comedy shows have now been rescheduled for the new year.
And it is hoped that a full programme of shows can resume from next Easter.
The presentation followed major building works at the venue this year, which saw the development of two new cinema screens, plus repairs and improvements to other facilities.
The project included repairs to the roof, which Mr Bayfield said had been leaking for many years, plus an upgraded box office and kiosk offer.
A total of 680 tickets were sold for screenings in the first month of operations after the facility opened in September.
And, prior to lockdown, the Corn Exchange was also hosting screenings of King’s Lynn Town football matches, which it is hoped will resume in December.
Mr Bayfield said it is also hoped that Christmas markets scheduled for December 5 and 6 will also be able to go ahead.
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