Owner of Chiswick Playhouse welcomes lockdown easing as “massive boost”

Image above: Mark Perry introducing a show at Chiswick Playhouse

The owner of Chiswick Playhouse Mark Perry welcomed the Prime Minister’s intention to end all lockdown restrictions on 19 July as a “massive boost”.

The little theatre has been struggling to stay afloat financially, as they have not received Government funding in the way the larger venues such as Watermans arts centre in Brentford, the Lyric theatre and Riverside Studios in Hammersmith have.

Chiswick Playhouse only seats about 100 at best, so their recent shows with socially distanced seating have only played to very small audiences. So far this year they have staged a lot of one person shows which have only been on for one or two nights each.

“To put on a full production, we couldn’t make a profit with social distancing in place” Mark told The Chiswick Calendar.

Image above: publicity for From Here

From Here – a new musical

Their latest production, From Here, a new musical by Ben Barrow and Lucy Ireland, opened on Thursday 1 July. It was planned before Boris Johnson announced that the final phase of lockdown easing would be delayed by a month. They weren’t sure it would be able to go ahead, but have managed to put the show on at a time when many others are shutting.

From Here has a small cast – just four performers – and this production is its world premiere.

‘The show asks the question of whether we are driven by the notion of a fairy-tale ending to our lives or are we constantly looking for something new. Finding love, marriage, family, are these the milestones we should strive for… or is there something else that we’re missing?’

If on 12 July the Prime Minister confirms that social distancing in theatres is no longer required “it will be a massive boost for the show and for the theatre” said Mark.

“If we can have some shows (in the run from 1-31 July) that are not socially distanced, it will be a massive boost”.

Among the latest theatre productions to have been cancelled becasue of Covid complications are the West End production of Hairspray and Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner at the Royal Court. The tour of My Best Friend’s Wedding has also been cancelled.

Chiswick actor Susan Penhaligon is currently playing in The Mousetrap at St Martin’s theatre. She told The Chiswick Calendar the production had to have two alternate casts in case a member of one of them gets Covid and they all have to isolate.

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See also: Andrew Lloyd Webber opens Cinderalla with a sideswipe at the Government

See also: David Puttnam opens Chiswick Cinema

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