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Manager of Stamford Corn Exchange hopes it will reopen in June

The manager of a theatre is maintaining a ‘show must go on’ attitude despite the venue not being able to reopen until June at the earliest.

The Stamford Corn Exchange has remained closed since the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020 with no shows or events taking place.

Resolute in the face of the third national lockdown, Judith Mackie, the theatre’s general manager, is feeling positive they will not be beaten by the virus.

She said: “We are hoping to open in June but realistically, from what we have seen in the Government guidance, it is more likely to be well into summer before we are able to return.

Stamford Corn Exchange Theatre
Stamford Corn Exchange Theatre

“The biggest problem for us is only having one central aisle.

“People have to pass by each other to get to the stairs, and so social distancing will be quite difficult.

“We are hoping that by September time we can go back to running as we were before the pandemic.”

To be viable, large productions need all 400 seats filled. Smaller shows need to be able to seat at least 250 people.

Stamford Corn Exchange has received some Government support including a £25,000 grant which covered its maintenance in August and September last year.

Judith said: “The building is shut down as much as we possibly can.

“We’ve had to put some heating on otherwise we would be getting damp issues. We’ve already incurred damp.

“We try to minimise costs as much as possible which has unfortunately resulted in redundancies.

“I have put in a further application to the Arts Council but have to wait until the end of March to see if we’ve been successful.”

Despite continuing concerns over finances for the venue, Judith has ruled out the possibility of the Stamford Corn Exchange closing permanently.

She said: “What this might mean is that we have to restrict our programmes and not run as many shows, and we will be more reliant on volunteers.”

She added that they may well have to ‘start again’, as they did in 2007, and build up to the strong position they were in before the pandemic.

“We are determined to reopen,” she added.

Judith is contacting people who have tickets booked, to inform them of postponement dates, and is continuing to speak with theatre companies to book future shows.

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