Thursday, 25 February 2021

Theatre hopes to re-open in spring

Theatre hopes to re-open in spring

THE managing and artistic director of the Mill at Sonning is hoping the theatre can re-open at the end of March, subject to coronavirus restrictions.

The riverside venue was forced to close when the Government introduced tier 4 rules last month to halt the spread of covid-19.

It will remain shut while the third national lockdown, which was introduced this week, stays in place.

Sally Hughes has rescheduled all the January and February shows to run throughout late March, April and May.

She said: “As I was moving shows around the calendar I had the news on in the background. Amid all the doom and gloom was that wonderful ray of hope. The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

“I hope that, if you had tickets booked, you will stick with us and move again. I thank you from the bottom of my heart in anticipation.

“The early spring shows will still be limited in numbers and socially distanced but by early summer I hope that the Mill will be back to its old bustling self.”

The box office team, led by Mark Chappell, is contacting all customers who have bought tickets for the rescheduled shows.

Sally says the Government’s furlough scheme and patrons continuing to buy tickets have enabled the theatre to re-open and keep on its staff.

In a letter to patrons, she said: “It is your generosity, understanding and kindness that has saved the Mill and at least 60 jobs. From chefs and the backstage team, to marketing and accounts, we have all kept our jobs through this awful time because of you.

“With the Mill surviving it means we can employ more creatives and artists. During a normal year we give work to 230 creative people. Directors, designers, costume designers, actors, singers, musicians, lighting designers, sound designers, choreographers, playwrights.

“Every time you have chosen to move your tickets you have helped stave off misery for so many people.”

Meanwhile, Sally has programmed new shows to run up until March 2022 and added extra performances of Top Hat and The House on Cold Hill, which will now run from February 3, 2022.

The theatre is also planning to hold fundraising events this year, with the most significant being a gala performance of Two Into One on Saturday, September 11.

The evening performance marks the day that the auditorium will be named after playwright Ray Cooney, who has supported the Mill for a number of years, particularly throughout the pandemic.

Tickets cost £200 each while seat plaques with your name on can be bought for £3,000, which will make you a member of the Mill Angels club. This will give access to Sally, her team, rehearsals and other events and lifetime membership to the Friends.

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