Playhouse reopens with six week season 

SALISBURY Playhouse will re-open in October with a socially-distanced six-week season of theatre, dance, music and live screenings, running between 14th October and 21st November.

To follow government guidelines for indoor performances and social distancing, the capacity of the main house will be reduced from 512 to 148, with audiences sitting in their household bubbles across the auditorium and some rows completely removed. Other measures adopted to ensure performances are safe for audiences, staff and performers include paperless ticketing, a one-way system, enhanced cleaning, mandatory face coverings, performances without intervals and advance ordering of refreshments. 

Wiltshire Creative, which runs Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury Arts Centre and Salisbury International Arts Festival, is also following guidance from industry advisers, UK Theatre.

Theatre performances include an acclaimed solo performance of Dickens’ Great Expectations by Kneehigh founder member David Mynne from Cornwall, multi-talented Bristol-based performer Saikat Ahamed in The Tiger and The Moustache, and Elton John: It’s A Little Bit Funny, telling the story of one of the greatest singer/songwriters.

There is dance from Lila Dance with The Hotel Experience,  Lourdes Fernandez’s Raices Flamencas (a sell-out at the 2019 Salisbury International Arts Festival) and Lost Dog’s Juliet and Romeo, blending dance, theatre and comedy to tell possibly the real story of Romeo and Juliet.

Live music includes singer-songwriter and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson (recently seen on the first night of the BBC Proms) and folk duo Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman. Stand-up comedy comes from Suzi Ruffell (Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week) and a night of the popular Barnstormers.

Screenings include Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake filmed live at Sadler’s Wells, the Old Vic’s production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons starring Sally Field and Bill Pullman, Frida Kahlo: Exhibition on Screen and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s huge hit Fleabag.

October half term sees the return of Strong Women Science, a circus science show for children and families starring two women scientists turned circus performers, and Mischief and Mystery in Moomin Valley with puppetry, an ingenious set, original music, with snow, surprises, Moomin mischief and interactive play that will delight young audiences aged four to seven years.

Wiltshire Creative artistic director Gareth Machin says: “We are delighted that we have found a way of offering a season of performances safely this autumn. We’ve all been missing the thrill of live performance and we’re excited that this dynamic programme of dance, music, theatre, comedy and film will enable us to begin welcoming audiences back to Salisbury Playhouse.”

General booking opens online on Tuesday 15th September at 10am. Further details about the season can be found at www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk where donations can also be made to support the organisation’s future artistic work.

Pictured: Dave Mynne in Great Expectations; Lila Dance’s The Hotel Experience; Saikat Ahamed in The Tiger and the Moustache.