The SJT to close for Lockdown 2 but The Snow Queen rehearsals WILL go ahead

Rehearsals can go ahead in Lockdown 2 for The Snow Queen at the Stephen Joseph Theatre

SCARBOROUGH’S Stephen Joseph Theatre will close its doors to the public again from Thursday to December 2, re-opening on December 3, pending further Government Covid-19 pronouncements.

In the light of last night’s confirmation from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden that rehearsals can continue behind closed doors, the SJT will be going ahead with its vibrant Christmas production of Nick Lane’s The Snow Queen throughout December.

The SJT had re-opened its McCarthy cinema in late-August and has been presenting live theatre from the start of October: one of the first theatres in the country to do so.

November’s live shows – My Favourite Summer and Orpheus & Eurydice, plus play readings of Canton, Worldly and With Bells On! – will move to next spring. New dates will be announced as soon as possible.

As much of the November cinema programme as possible will be switched to December. Again, new dates will be posted ASAP.

Haunting Julia, an audio version of Alan Ayckbourn’s 1994 play directed and performed by Sir Alan himself, is unaffected. Theatre-goers who prefer to stay at home can book to listen between December 1 and January 5 via the theatre’s website, sjt.uk.com. Raven’s sold-out Christmas concert on December 15 will go ahead as planned too.

The SJT’s box-office team is working hard to contact everyone with bookings affected by the changes. Ticket-bookers can choose whether they would like a refund, a credit to their account, or to donate the cost of their ticket to help secure the theatre’s future.

Those with bookings are asked not to contact the box office if possible. The team is making its way through November’s bookings in date order as fast as it can.

The SJT’s executive director, Caroline Routh, says: “Of course, it’s a huge disappointment to us all to have to close again. Our audiences have been so appreciative that we reopened our cinema in August and recommenced live theatre in October, and really generous in their support in so many ways.

“Most of our screenings and shows, includingJohn Godber’s Sunny Side Up! just last week, have sold out, although our capacities have been reduced because of social distancing.

“But the safety of our audience, our in-house team and our visiting companies is, of course, paramount. When we do re-open, we‘ll still be following the same stringent safety procedures that have made our audiences feel so safe recently.

“And we’re so thrilled that we’re still able to bring The Snow Queen to Scarborough for Christmas. It promises to be a really lively and memorable show, starring the fabulous Polly Lister and, on certain performances, her talented ‘alternate’ Jacoba Williams. We’re confident it’ll be a Christmas must-see for 2020!”

Please note, if you do need to contact the box office for any reason, you can do so on 01723 370541, between 10am and noon, Mondays to Fridays, until 2 December (phone queries only; the building will not be open for in-person visits.

Tickets for all December events can still be booked online through the lockdown period at sjt.uk.com.

Raven are a safe haven for a socially distanced Christmas concert at the SJT

Sleigh belles singing: All-female Scarborough group Raven to play Christmas concert at Stephen Joseph Theatre. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

SCARBOROUGH six-piece Raven will perform their socially distanced 2020 Christmas concert in the Round at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on December 15.

Noted for their enchanting harmonies and haunting melodies, Raven will take their 7.30pm audience on a magical Christmas ride through traditional festive songs and their own winter music.

In the all-female line-up are: Jaye Lewis, vocals, tenor recorder, flute and percussion; Karen Chalmers, vocals, keyboards, piano accordion, recorder and percussion; Nia Davidson, vocals, ukulele, recorder and percussion; Pat Edmond, vocals, guitar, recorder and percussion; Sally Lidgley, vocals and percussion, and Sarah Dew, vocals, keyboards, penny whistle, bass guitar and percussion.

The versatile sextet has performed across Yorkshire, from the Grassington Fringe Festival, Coastival, Woodend and Filey Festival, to the Spotlight Theatre, Bridlington, Helmsley Arts Centre, Selby Abbey and Castle Howard.

Raven have created original soundtracks for Scarborough’s Animated Objects Theatre Company’s large-scale community projects Leviathan and Orpheus The Mariner. Now they are working on The Odyssey, a three-year project for the Yorkshire Coast.

The SJT has introduced comprehensive measures for the safety and comfort of audiences (visit sjt.uk.com/were_back for more details) and has been awarded the VisitEngland We’re Good To Go industry standard mark and UK Theatre’s See It Safely standard mark. 

Tickets for Raven cost £12 at sjt.uk.com/whatson or on 01723 370541. The SJT box office is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11am to 4pm, for both phone calls and in-person bookings.