The news that this year’s production could not go ahead due to coronavirus restrictions may come as no surprise, but it is hoped the show may go ahead in August 2021.
The cancellation highlights the growing challenge facing public entertainment venues around the area.
EVT director, Mark Stratton, said: “We thought carefully about the decision to cancel, but in a small venue like the Robinson Institute, social distancing is impossible and the reduced capacity would make the production not viable.”
The theatre had also been planning to host Noreen Kershaw, the very first actress to play Shirley Valentine, as part of their popular “An Evening with…” series, but will now look to find another suitable date as soon as the situation allows.
Director Sheila Carter said fundraising events coordinated by the Friends of EVT have also had to be postponed, including a planned auction of promises. She said: “ These events are always great fun and represent an important part of the Theatre's fundraising efforts.”
Mark explained how finances have taken a hit since the pandemic began: “We’ve lost some sponsorship as other businesses are struggling as well. We’ve already incurred significant expenses this year which unfortunately are non-recoupable."
“You don’t realise the impact this will have on other businesses, the local pubs, bars and hotels who all benefit from the theatre.
“There have been a lot of cancellations for B&B’s because we attract so many people from across the country. There’s also the loss of income for the Institute.”
“On a positive note, we’ve spoken to Willy Russell’s agents and they’re letting us have the rights for August next year, providing government guidelines allow theatre events to take place.”
“We really just want to say thank you to all our sponsors and ticket holders who have donated the cost of their tickets or sent a much needed donation, We’ve been knocked out by people’s generosity.”