Spectacular outdoor theatre set to return

11:33am - 23 April 2021

Spectacular outdoor theatre and musical performances are set to return to North Somerset this summer as lockdown measures are eased.

Local arts organisation Theatre Orchard has received a grant of £67,037 from the second round of the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.

The money will enable the charity to run a series of socially-distanced outdoor performances in Weston-super-Mare with some of the south west’s best theatre, dance, comedy, music and family shows.

As part of this, a community engagement programme is also planned for local groups, including young people and families.

During lockdown, Theatre Orchard provided free online activities such as youth theatre, creative writing, adult drama, dance, poetry, arts and crafts, storytelling and more.

Theatre Orchard is also launching new drama sessions in Weston-super-Mare to help people express themselves and to support community wellbeing, thanks to a grant of £34,140 by the People’s Health Trust, using money raised through the Health Lottery South West.

The two-year Theatre Forum project will see weekly, open-access drama sessions for people in the town and culminate in a community showcase performance next year, created and shaped by participants.

The overarching theme of the project is ‘home’ and what this can mean to different people facing a diverse range of social and emotional issues in their everyday lives.

Theatre Forum is an expansion of Open Door, Theatre Orchard’s free drama group for adults, where participants have addressed feelings of isolation and other social issues through the creative process.

If you are interested in being part of Theatre Forum, email the team on engagement@theatreorchard.org.uk.

For updates about the outdoor shows and other initiatives, visit www.theatreorchard.org.uk or follow on Facebook or Twitter.

The above photo shows the Belly of the Whale performance at the Whirligig festival in summer 2019. Photo credit Paul Blakemore.

Balcony appeal to secure future of Curzon

Clevedon’s historic Curzon cinema has launched a fundraising campaign to ‘bring back the balcony’ and create more space for social distancing.

Coronavirus has had a devastating financial impact on the 109-year-old cinema so a fundraising appeal has been launched to reopen the historic balcony and increase capacity, to give the charity the best chance of recovery.

Covid-19 social distancing and cleaning measures mean that, without the balcony, audience capacity is reduced from 330 to just 90.

The balcony has been hidden from view since 1972 but will increase the cinema’s socially distanced capacity by 30 per cent, putting the charity in a stronger position to survive and recover.

In 2019, the cinema ran a successful fundraising appeal for a new roof, and last year the false ceiling inside was removed to increase ventilation.

The cinema received a £83,342 grant from the Culture Recovery Fund from the BFI, to enable it to diversify its programming and activities to sustain recovery and reach

out to new and younger audiences.

This grant is not to be spent on general operating costs though, so the cinema is now looking to raise £70,000 to reinstate the balcony.

Donations can be made online or send a cheque payable to ‘Curzon Clevedon Community Centre for the Arts’ at Curzon Cinema and Arts, 46 Old Church Road, Clevedon BS21 6NN.