The easing of Covid restrictions and the return of live theatre and music from Monday has been welcomed by arts organisations in the north-east and north.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today confirmed the audience limit on indoor events of 100 standing and 200 seated would be lifted from January 24, paving the way for shows to start again.
A spokesperson for Aberdeen Performing Arts said: “We welcome today’s announcement from the First Minister and look forward to re-opening our venues.
“We are delighted that our first show back will be The Stranglers at the Music Hall on January 27, closely followed by Rachel Sermanni at the Lemon Tree on January 29, and Magic Goes Wrong at His Majesty’s Theatre from February 2-5.
“We will continue to take every measure to keep staff, audiences and performers safe, and encourage anyone planning a visit to our venues to check our website for the most up to date guidance.”
Christina Camillo, marketing director at Aberdeen’s Tivoli Theatre, said: “We are delighted with the announcement from the Scottish Government today that we can re-open on Monday January 24 and operate at full capacity.
“We are looking forward to welcoming back our staff, performers and customers.”
Delighted to welcome back audiences to theatres
Meanwhile, Aberdeen Arts Centre manager Stephanie Walls said: “We’re delighted that from next week we’ll be able to resume shows at full capacity and we are looking forward to welcoming audiences from Tuesday January 25 for Phoenix Theatre’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Scottish Ballet also said it was delighted it could get back on the road, taking its production of The Nutcracker to Eden Court in Inverness next week, from Wednesday January 26 to Saturday January 29.
The company said: “Following today’s Scottish Government announcement that there will be no further extension to current event restrictions, Scottish Ballet are delighted to be completing their tour of The Nutcracker to Inverness, after the Glasgow and Aberdeen runs were cancelled.”
Byran Beattie, Eden Court’s interim chief executive, said he was thrilled to be safely raising the curtain at the venue again and seeing audiences fill the theatre once more.
He said: “We’ll be welcoming Scottish Ballet from next Wednesday with their sumptuous production of The Nutcracker. And the timing couldn’t be better for removing the cinema’s social distancing measures, with Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast having already sold hundreds of advance tickets.
“The whole Eden Court team are so passionate about what we do, so it’s brilliant to get back to what we’re best at and start making audiences happy again.”
The Nutcracker had been due to take to the stage of His Majesty’s from Wednesday to Saturday this week, but was cancelled last week after the restrictions on numbers at indoor events were extended to January 24.
Slew of shows are going ahead
The restrictions, which have been in place for four weeks in response to the rise of the Omicron variant, led to the cancellation of a production of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, which had been due to arrive at HMT next week. It was pulled earlier this month due to uncertainty over restrictions.
Today’s announcement that there would be no extension to restrictions, also means shows at the Music Hall, including The Stranglers on January 27, comedian Daniel Sloss on January 28 and Suggs on January 29 can go ahead.
There had been no shows scheduled for P&J Live during the period of restrictions. It will burst back into life with comedian John Bishop’s stand-up show on February 18.
Return of live music gigs
Ross Calder, owner of live music promoter AGP Aberdeen and entertainment manager at The Tunnels and Cafe Drummond also welcomed the easing of restrictions.
He said: “We’re obviously delighted that the vast majority of restrictions are being lifted from Monday.
“It’s been another worrying and uncertain time for music venues. It’s a positive sign that cases are dropping and that some sort of normality can once again return.
“We’re really looking forward to welcoming back crowds whilst still taking all the measures we can to keep everyone as safe as possible.
“There are undoubtedly still challenges ahead in terms of having to programme events at such short notice and ensuring that public confidence in indoor events is restored, but at this stage, we are just happy to be able to get back to doing what we love and to share the events with everyone again.”
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