A Clacton arts venue has enjoyed a positive revival after the extended closure brought about by Covid-19 lockdowns.
The Princes Theatre, like venues nationwide, was forced to close in March 2020 and did not re-open until May this year; with staff being largely re-deployed to support the response of Tendring District Council (TDC) – which runs the theatre – to the pandemic.
But since re-opening the Princes Theatre has hosted 24 shows and nine events, while wedding enquiries and bookings have increased six-fold – as well as launching a new web site.
Alex Porter, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, thanked all audience members and event organisers for their support.
“The pandemic has been a tough time for us all, and arts venues such as the Princes Theatre have acutely felt this – so to bounce back so strongly is a really positive sign for both our own venue, and the cultural sector as a whole,” Councillor Porter said.
“This is only possible thanks to the support of event organisers, producers and promoters and, most importantly, the paying audience who are showing their support through the Box Office.
“I also want to say a huge thank you to our theatre staff who not only stepped up to aid the council’s pandemic response – such as by manning welfare helplines – but also played a leading role in supporting the whole industry, locally and nationally in surviving the lockdowns through chairing working groups.
“Not only that, but they have really grabbed the bull by the horns as restrictions lifted to get the Princes Theatre back open, in a Covid-secure way.”
The Princes Theatre runs entertainment performances, alongside supporting community groups such as the Princes Youth Theatre, staging events including the Tendring Youth Awards, and is a licensed wedding venue.
Staff have also been looking at ways to reduce the theatre’s environmental impact, by replacing older lighting with LED illumination, deploying re-useable sticky strips instead of electrical tape, and recycling old banners.
Since re-opening the theatre has received 50 five-star TripAdvisor reviews and almost the same number of excellent Google reviews.
Comments include “Great theatre helpful staff, good facilities, very clean and safe. Fantastic show, top London acts and great value for money”; “Fab night at Prince’s Theatre. Super well organised and clean, felt super safe post Covid too. Lots of staff available for any questions”; and “Have never been to this
Theatre before but what a lovely surprise. It was very clean and friendly and the show was amazing much easier than a stressful journey to London”.
Looking ahead there is already a packed calendar for 2022, with 124 bookings confirmed so far including big names such as Al Murray, Paul Chowdhry and Su Pollard; while ticket sales are performing strongly for the upcoming pantomime starring Ben Haenow, Gemma Bissix and Dave Benson Phillips, Jack and the Beanstalk.
To see what’s on at the Princes Theatre and to book tickets visit www.princestheatre.co.uk or alternatively call the Box Office on 01255 686633 option 1. You can also follow the theatre on Facebook and Twitter (@PrincesTheatre), and Instagram (@ptclacton).