Friday, 14 May 2021

Dinner theatre receives £448,000

Dinner theatre receives £448,000

THE Mill at Sonning has been awarded a “lifesaving” grant of £448,580.

The theatre, which is due to re-open on May 17, received the money from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

This will be used to help the venue to operate with a reduced capacity and reassure visitors who may be nervous about returning.

The dinner theatre will improve its ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Sally Hughes, managing and artistic director, said: “Everyone at the Mill is overjoyed to be in receipt of this fantastic grant.

“The next few months will be difficult to navigate through with all the covid safety measures and only 50 per cent capacity allowed.

“The Government’s furlough scheme has helped us through the past year.

“Now this grant allows us to move forward, open again on May 17 and welcome back our audience with full confidence.”

The Mill will have toom for 70 customers for dinner and a show due to social distancing requirements.

It has come up with a way to hide empty seats.

Mrs Hughes said “Our in-house master carpenter has built small tables that will slot over the empty seats.

“These can move depending on the size of each group and will be dressed with small lights, so the auditorium will look more like an intimate cabaret space than a traditional theatre.”

The riverside venue was forced to close when the Government introduced tier 4 rules in December.

In July it was only allowed to operate the restaurant with reduced seating.

Actor Brian Blessed said: “It has been a tough year for the Mill and all theatres. The Culture Recovery Fund is a miracle and the Mill is a miraculous company that embraces the arts. I am thrilled to bits that it has been given a grant.” 

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