The Lowry theatre will reopen for live shows in late November, but it will be a different experience for audiences and performers than before the pandemic.
Coronavirus has done more damage to the theatre industry than perhaps any other, with government-imposed closures lasting 5 weeks longer than they did for pubs.
Even as theatres have been allowed to reopen since 15th August, they have been forced to drastically cut their audience capacity in line with social distancing guidelines.
At The Lowry, Six will be the first live show, opening on 27th November, although with a maximum audience of 700, there will be 1000 empty seats.
Marketing and Communications Director, Rachel Miller, said: “From the audience perspective the show will not be any different.
“The auditorium will be socially distanced so it will feel a little bit different”.
A government pay-out of £257mil was awarded to arts institutions across the UK, with the North West receiving £30mil across 163 institutions.
In Manchester, HOME was awarded funding of £351,000, and Contact received £193,000.
The Lowry has turned to alternative routes of securing income, having entered into a partnership with the law courts.
The Quays theatre is being hired out from 9-5 to the courts, then deep cleaned to reopen on evenings to host live theatre.
Ms Miller said that she hopes schemes like this would allow the theatre to subsidise a socially distanced Christmas show as well as important community work.
The Lowry was also able to raise £37,000 through public funding during the immediate crisis.
Patrons as well as other donors and sponsors have also provided much-needed support through funding and project work.
Ms Miller said that there were two big challenges the Lowry would face in reopening:
“One is the fact that government guidance and everything surrounding the virus is changing so quickly.
“We don’t know what’s happening sometimes from day to day let alone by the time we get to peak times such as Christmas.
“And I think probably the other challenge for us will be, it will feel very different as a theatre and as an organisation”.
The Lowry galleries will re-open on weekends from 1st November.
Liver performances will re-start from 27th November, tickets for Six can be purchased here.