The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 9 March 2021
Summer of Love - More than 200 events are to be staged in and around Chester as Storyhouse prepares a reopening programme, which it promises will be a ‘barn-raising’ open air season. The arts organisation said it would begin activity from May, with theatres and cinemas allowed to operate from 17 May under the government reopening roadmap. Storyhouse said its Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre would open earlier than normal – possibly as early as 22 May – while Moonlight Flicks open-air cinema will also run from the May half term.
Storyhouse artistic director Alex Clifton said: “We’re launching a summer of festivity, joy and healing, together in the sunshine – a real summer of love. We’re planning a barn-raising, together-again party with the roof off. Plays and movies and family activities: all of us together in the city’s parks and open spaces, loving our city, and reconnecting with each other, in the summer sunshine."
Chief executive Andrew Bentley said the organisation had raised more than £2.5 million over the past year to keep it afloat. “This support is still crucial to our survival and we are so thankful. We brought some joy at Christmas and now we are about to embark on our longest summer ever,” he added.
Convention News - Much of the summer festival season remains in limbo, despite PM Boris Johnson laying out a four-step plan for easing restrictions by midsummer. Organisers and promoters remain hopeful that their events can go ahead, but uncertainty remains.
Gareth Williams festival director for Fairport Convention’s annual Cropredy event says, “If Covid-19 is under control it is hoped that large outdoor events can take place this summer so we are cautiously optimistic our festival will be staged, as planned, over the weekend of 12-14 August 2021.
“There are still a number of factors to consider of course. Firstly, the four steps are entirely dependent on getting the coronavirus under control in the UK. Secondly, we remain anxious (as do all festivals) that we are still unable take out cancellation insurance that covers Covid-19. However, the festival industry is actively lobbying the government for help in underwriting this. Hopefully we’ll have some good news in the Chancellor’s budget report next week.
“The government has said that 21 June is the earliest date that restrictions will be completely lifted. As Cropredy’s dates are later in the festival season, there is every reason to hope that we can all look forward to meeting in the field in August.
“Safety is our first consideration (in fact, it was the main reason we postponed back in April 2020), so there may be some mitigation measures in place and we will be liaising with the responsible authorities throughout the summer in the build-up to the festival to make Cropredy as safe as possible for our festival-goers, staff, artists and local residents.
“This has been a unique twelve months by any standards. Our hearts go out to our friends in the extended Fairport family who have lost someone close and we shall remember those who are no longer with us when we meet again in that very special field.”
Musical Notes - New dates have been announced for the UK tours of musicals Hairspray and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Hairspray plans to open at Plymouth Theatre Royal on 24 June and will tour to locations including Southampton, Manchester, Sheffield, Ipswich and Aylesbury. The musical will also visit venues in Edinburgh, Bradford, Brighton, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Dublin, Belfast, Woking, Milton Keynes and Blackpool, with further dates to be announced for 2022.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will play Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre from 23 June to July 3, before touring to Leeds, Hull, Oxford, Bath, Northampton, Glasgow, Wimbledon, Birmingham, Southend, Leicester, Bristol and Southampton.
(Jim Evans)
9 March 2021

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