The road to reopening – light at the end of the tunnel!

It seems like there is light at the end of the tunnel for all of us as following the government’s announcement earlier this week, we are on the road to reopening our doors later this year!

2020 was a difficult year for theatres – and while a couple of hugely successful socially distanced shows were staged at The Cresset last year despite the challenges and restrictions, the national lockdown in December meant that the building, as well as the shops and facilities inside it, had to temporarily close, bringing the curtain down early on our annual pantomime. However, plans are now underway to reopen, not just the theatre but the shops, gym, pub and conference & banqueting suites are all putting plans in place following the release of the government’s roadmap released this week.

From 12th April, both indoor leisure and non-essential retail will be permitted to reopen, so we are excited to announce that the main building will resume its usual public opening times. The shops and services in The Cresset – including OMG Accessories, Eastern Ink, R&R Tanning, The Barber Shoppe and more – plus the Bretton Library and YMCA Gym will be opening their doors once again. As per the guidelines, some social distancing restrictions will still be in place at this time, and the gym will only be open for gym sessions rather than classes.

Another exciting piece of good news is that a brand-new shop is coming to The Cresset’s North Walk Mall; Crafty Jax will be opening their doors for the very first time! As the Cresset building will again be open to the public, we are hopeful that we will be able to increase our Box Office service from 12th April. Additionally, small weddings and funeral receptions can take place for up to 15 people.

The theatre should be back in full swing from 21st June, but is permitted to stage socially distanced performances from 17th May – after the success of our previous socially distanced events including their Comedy Club and Christmas pantomime, we have some exciting possibilities in the works for May and June, so we might not have to wait much longer before we can enjoy live theatre again!

In the meantime, if you have tickets booked for any shows prior to 21st June, it is very likely that these will have to be rescheduled – as always, our Box Office team will contact customers regarding rescheduled dates and can be contacted on with any queries.

Additionally, the government is hopeful that from this June date, restrictions on weddings, funerals and other gatherings will also be completely lifted, though they can go ahead with up to 30 people in attendance from 17th May. Once again, our Events team will be contacting customers in the coming weeks to discuss their plans.

With multiple households permitted to mix indoors from 17th May, we are also looking forward to being able to open The Fayre Spot’s doors very soon! Though the rule of six and other social distancing restrictions will still be in place, the good news is there’s no curfew and you don’t have to order a substantial meal to enjoy a drink!

Penny Hansen, Head of Commercial Activities said: “After a year of such uncertainty this roadmap is a great relief. While we await more detail around the crucial financial support beyond the current planned end to the furlough scheme, we are optimistic for the future. The phased reopening allows us to plan much further ahead and gives us all reassurance that restrictions will be relaxed in a controlled way.

We spent a lot of resources last year ensuring that we could operate our building, theatre and hospitality areas in a Covid secure way to protect our staff and customers and had excellent feedback from those who visited and attended live events in the autumn, so we are confident that we can continue to do so once we reopen our doors. We remain incredibly grateful to our customers who have continued to support The Cresset throughout this difficult year, and we hope that they will continue to do so as we start to emerge from what has been a very long dark tunnel!”

After nearly a year since the last non-socially distanced show, and after a whole year without hosting weddings or celebrations, the whole team here at The Cresset can’t wait to welcome audiences and customers back soon – the stage is set for 2021 and The Cresset is ready to bounce back and put on a show!

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