What a farce as Matthew Kelly plays drunken old actor in Michael Frayn’s classic comedy Noises Off at York Theatre Royal

Matthew Kelly: Defying an injured knee on tour in Noises Off. All pictures: Pamela Raith

MATTHEW Kelly is performing “like a gazelle” in the 40th anniversary tour of Michael Frayn’s riotous farce Noises Off, despite a knee injury.

“I’m already doing it on two new hips, and off stage I have to walk with a stick,” says the erstwhile Stars In Their Eyes presenter, now 73, who takes to the York Theatre Royal stage from tonight.

“I twisted my knee on the set about a year ago on the first tour run. I thought, ‘I’m not going to have any more surgery; I’ll treat it with physiotherapy’, and that’s what I’ve done. It gets me a seat on the Tube every time!

“The knee’s getting better and I’ve kind of got used it, having had to use sticks when I was getting the hips done.”

Matthew takes the role of Selsdon Mowbray, an old actor with a drink problem, “for which I’ve done a lot of research”, he jokes.

“The play’s been going for 42 years, and I was up for the first takeover 40 years ago, when I was invited to follow Nicky Henson in the lead role in the original production.”

Watching Henson’s supreme performance, however, Matthew decided against taking up the invitation. When the chance came to play Selsdon Mowbray, four decades later, this time he jumped at it, new hips and all.

“What makes it work, and the only way it can work, is for the company to be really close, really bonded, and absolutely in tune with each other, which we are,” says Matthew Kelly

On the first itinerary, he played opposite Felicity Kendal; now he is joined by fellow 73-year-old Liza Goddard in Theatre Royal Bath’s touring revival, directed by Lindsay Posner, who staged Richard III and Romeo And Juliet in York’s first season of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre productions in 2018.

Structured as a play within a play over three acts, Frayn’s chaotic comedy follows the on and off-stage antics of a hapless touring theatre company stumbling its way through the fictional farce, Nothing On, from shambolic final rehearsal to a disastrous matinee, seen silently from backstage, before their catastrophic last performance in Stockton-on-Tees.

If you have enjoyed Mischief’s visits to York with The Play That Goes Wrong and Magic Goes Wrong in recent years, they echo Frayn’s forerunner, a comedy rooted in calamities, pratfalls and slapstick as a cast at war with each other strives desperately to keep a performance on track amid the mayhem.

“What makes it work, and the only way it can work, is for the company to be really close, really bonded, and absolutely in tune with each other, which we are,” says Matthew. “If you get one thing wrong, it can throw the whole play out of kilter.

“I always have good times with companies, but this company is an absolute delight to work with. Having to do three matinees a week, it’s absolutely killing us. There’s no-one having an affair as we’re too knackered!”

Michael Frayn has supported the 40th anniversary tour at every opportunity, as well as tweaking the script. “He’s now 90, and he’s been with us since the start, coming to the opening night when I first did the show with Felicity last year, opening at Bath, and then when we went into the West End,” says Matthew.

“He’s told us it’s the best ever production of the play, though he probably always says that. He’s kind and encouraging, and you just know he’s like that with every company.”

Matthew Kelly in his role as drunken old actor Selsdon Mowbray. “I’ve done a lot of research,” he says

The revival of Noises Off is perfectly timed after the pandemic sent theatres into cold storage. “It’s a love letter to theatre that really lifts the spirit. You hear people rolling around with laughter throughout the show,” says Matthew.

This is the reward for the cast’s meticulously timed comedic performances. “We only had three weeks’ rehearsal for the second tour, and I was the only original member of the cast still in the show. So when we opened in Birmingham, we were still rehearsing during the day as well as performing at night.”

In keeping with the play, things can go wrong. “At one show, one of the girls accidentally left a bunch of flowers on stage, on the upper level, and the next thing that happened was the play began to fall to bits – and the whole place went nuts!” recalls Matthew.

“It wasn’t funny, it was terrifying, but somehow, we got back on track. After the show, I saw a friend, and when I told them it had all gone wrong, they said they’d never noticed! But when things go wrong, they’re only funny to the people who are there watching the show.”

Mind you, actors can play jokes on each other too, like when Matthew was performing Arnold Ridley’s The Ghost Train with Julie Walters and Bill Nighy in Aberystwyth. “When we’re locked in the waiting room, everyone changes place in the dark. Each show we’d have scuffles, where everyone would try to shove each other off stage!” he reveals.

“One Wednesday matinee, when the lights came back on, there was only me on stage, and the rest of the cast were sitting in the front row, arms folded, all looking at me.”

Don’t take it too seriously, Matthew advises himself and those around him in the acting world. “Honestly, no-one cares! We’re only playing in the dressing -up box,” he says.

“It’s a love letter to theatre that really lifts the spirit,” says Matthew Kelly of Michael Frayn’s frenetic farce Noise Off, on tour at York Theatre Royal from tonight

That said, he would love to play King Lear, the third age role that veteran Yorkshire Shakespearean actor Barrie Rutter has said “you should do twice: once when you can do it, and once when you have to do it”.

Kelly’s Lear will surely happen one day. In the meantime, next up, once the Noises Off tour ends in January, will be the world premiere of Jim Cartwright’s The Gap, a two-hander with Denise Welch, running at Hope Mil Theatre, Manchester, from February 9 to March 9.

“It’s about two teenagers running away to London in the Sixties and reuniting much later,” says Matthew. “I first did it as a one-act play about seven years ago, then made a film of it with Sue Johnston during the pandemic, and now Jim has expanded it into a full play.”

The Gap follows the audacious adventures of Walter and Corral. “He’s back up north, she’s still down south,” the theatre website says. “They haven’t seen each other for 50 years, not since their Soho days, back in the swinging ’60s.  A chance phone call reunites them for one magical night and in next-to-no time, they’re back to their old tricks.”

What is “the gap”, Matthew? “Cultural? Geographical? I tell you what it is,” he says. “It is the gap of flesh between stocking top and knicker ridge that drives men wild!”

Noises Off, York Theatre Royal, tonight (31/10/2023) until Saturday, 7.30pm nightly plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Did you know?

MATTHEW Kelly appeared previously at York Theatre Royal in two Alan Bennett plays: Kafka’s Dick, with his son Matthew Rixon, in 2001 and The Habit Of Art, a fictional meeting between York-born poet W H Auden and composer Benjamin Britten, exploring friendship, rivalry, heartache and the joy, pain and emotional cost of creativity, in 2018.

REVIEW: Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming at York Theatre Royal, until Saturday

Sticking it to them: Keith Allen’s cruel patriach Max pours scorn on sons Teddy (Sam Alexander), left, and Lenny (Mathew Horne)

Theatre Royal Bath presents The Homecoming, York Theatre Royal, 7.30pm, tonight; 2.30pm and 7.30pm, Saturday. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

KEITH Allen, actor and comedian, reckons Jamie Glover’s revival of Harold Pinter’s bewildering 1965 psychodrama is the funniest of his three acquaintances with The Homecoming, spread over 25 years.

That assessment just adds to the puzzle emanating from Pinter’s fantasist family wars. Funny, you say, Keith? Well, not as in funny ha-ha, but darkly, bitterly humorous in its jaw-dropping mind games, sexual power plays and gruff misogyny, even more uncomfortable to observe in this age of #MeToo and heightened gender politics.

As a programme note forewarns, Pinter gave short shrift to “any director or actor who dared to ask him what a line or a scene might actually mean”. You may well be on the side of those befuddled actors and directors, feeling cast adrift on a sea of ambiguity, unsure of what is going on, maybe incredulous too, and yet somehow still fascinated by the shenanigans unfolding.

It turns out Noel Coward was a fan, writing to Pinter after experiencing the convention-smashing, fragmented, disturbing The Homecoming. “You cheerfully break every rule of the theatre that I was brought up to believe in, except the cardinal one of never boring for a split-second,” The Master voiced.

Urbane airs: Mathew Horne’s smooth operator pimp Lenny in The Homecoming

“I love your choice of words, your resolute refusal to explain anything, and the arrogant but triumphant demands you make on the audience’s imagination,” he enthused.

There you have it: the “resolute refusal to explain anything”. Over the years, that baton has been passed to the theatre critic, student and historian, and this particular critic has too often found his Pinter to be half empty, rather than half full, frustrating rather than fulfilling, a night to endure, more than enjoy.

Glover’s production, however, is a more rewarding encounter, the mystery, menacing comedy and muscular machismo language brought to the boil by a superb cast on a memorably distorted set design by Liz Ascroft.

Yes, you have to work hard; yes, you have to use your imagination, and yes, The Homecoming still carries its shock value, no longer the angry young man shock of the new; more, ‘did he just say that?’…’did she just do that’, but that is because the cast as one commits to Pinter’s “pause and effect” rhythm of language and its subsequent verbal punch.

Keith Allen’s Max: A cantankerous King Leer

Having played Teddy in 1997 and Uncle Sam in 2015, Keith Allen graduates to patriarch Max, the retired butcher who still rules the North London family house with a simmering temper from his armchair, using his walking stick as much to threaten violence as to hobble around the living room.

Max, a cantankerous King Leer, sets the mood, switching without warning from vicious viper to florid sentimentality, belittling his brother, quietly resolute chauffeur Sam (Ian Bartholomew), and winding up his sons with his bragging.  

The middle son, sarky pimp mobster Lenny (Mathew Horne), and youngest son, slow-headed, slow-footed aspiring boxer Joey (Geoffrey Lumb) have never left home despite Max’s derision. Like father, like son, all three are deluded, unhinged.

The one who did break away, eldest son Teddy (Sam Alexander), is a smug philosophy professor at an American university with educated airs and a cultivated voice. Without warning, he is paying a visit to show off his wife, mysterious, unpredictable, stultified former model Ruth (Shanaya Rafaat).

Family tensions: Warring Sam Alexander’s Teddy, left, and Mathew Horne’s Lenny with Ian Bartholomew’s mediator, Uncle Sam

This is a change-resistant house devoid of female presence since Max’s wife died, and Ruth becomes a pawn in a power struggle of toxic masculinity. Or does she, because amid the appalling misogyny, in a world where all the men talk, but none of them listens in games of one-upmanship, she is the one who does exactly that and then makes her play, picking them off in turn, as she breaks free from smug Teddy’s condescending control.  

It is said the word is all in a Pinter play, but here director Glover, designer Ascroft and lighting designer Johanna Town have a vital impact, at once physical and visual. Glover uses choreographed movement, a sudden change of posture, as the prelude to a mood switch; Ascroft has built a house interior that is worn, faded, stale, but is also stretched beyond reality with high walls and an endless staircase, bringing a sense of warped perspectives and being trapped.

Town’s lighting switches from drab domestic ordinariness to gothic shadows or flashes brightly on and off to reveal characters in different positions from before to indicate a juddering shift in the play’s tectonic plates.  

Leave the pauses and disdainful social comments to the deconstructionist Pinter, and he leaves you to fill in the narrative gaps, to cling onto the coat tails of non-sequitur conversations and to make sense of it all…or not. He is playing with us, toying with us, ever the agent provocateur out of love with man’s foibles and failings, our idiocy and crassness. Is it funny? The joke is on us.  

REVIEW: Ralph Fiennes in T S Eliot’s Four Quartets at York Theatre Royal ****

Ralph Fiennes in his world premiere: “He did not merely declaim or recite. Instead, Four Quartets became poetry in often slow, mellifluous motion”

REVIEW: Ralph Fiennes in TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, York Theatre Royal, until Saturday, 8pm nightly. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

THIS was always the “event” moment of the reopening Love Season at York Theatre Royal.

So much so, there had even been 16 days of darkness since the closing night of A Splinter Of Ice: a dramatic pause of anticipation worthy of a Harold Pinter play, a pause lengthened all the more by the gap between Ralph Fiennes’s unannounced arrival on stage and his opening word from T S Eliot’s epic poem cycle. Like a pianist composing himself for the first note.

In the interim since July 10 had come the Government’s rubber-stamping of Step 4 and the return to full-capacity audiences, making Fiennes’s York debut at 58 even more of an event.

Mask-wearing was still advised, a softly-softly policy that was met largely with compliance, although temperature checks and the taking of names and phone numbers have gone.

Sitting close together in an almost full theatre for the first time since mid-March 2020 was a suck-it-see experience: any loud cough was met a tad nervously, and the Theatre Royal felt uncomfortably warm. Hopefully, that can be adjusted. Please.

Anyway, on with the one-man show, a London-bound touring tour de force presented in its world premiere by the Royal & Derngate, Northampton, and the Theatre Royal, Bath, directed and performed by the esteemed Mr Fiennes, whose solemn entry was as low key as his autumnal colours of brown jacket and grey shirt hanging loosely outside dark trousers.

Ralph Fiennes in Four Quartets: “His feet were bare, maybe to ground himself, as if connecting with the earth below when the world around was in such a whirl”

His feet were bare, maybe still from that day’s yoga session, or maybe to ground himself, as if connecting with the earth below when the world around was in such a whirl.

He had the air of an intellectual lecturer, wrapped in intense thought, but needing to express himself, to communicate, hence the sporadic breaking of the fourth wall for direct address from the stage apron. Never dry, but conversational.

Fiennes did not merely declaim or recite. Instead, Four Quartets became poetry in often slow, mellifluous motion, a dramatic monologue with choreographed movement and lighting to suit the moment, the mood, the scene.

Fiennes had started with the lights still up and would bring them again sporadically, but at one point too, he plunged the stage into darkness, before a single light picked out a grey, almost ghostly countenance. Fire suddenly burned brightly, almost blindingly.

Every detail, every nuance, mattered, as with Eliot’s text, whether the placement of the two chairs and the table with a glass of water and a wartime studio microphone, used only once as if for addressing the nation.

The removal of the jacket and later putting it on again, wrapping it closely around his lean frame, signified the change of seasons, and all the while, Fiennes would break the moment, but not momentum, by moving two rotating slabs into different positions. It was an act of toil, but one to present new palettes, new shapes, new reliefs, as if in a painting, rather than the endless turmoil of Sisyphus being forced by Zeus to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity.

Ralph Fiennes: “Made Eliot’s language dance, sing, sting, ebb and flow, spark and turn to embers”

Fiennes’s voice, so familiar from the screen, is a thing of beauty in the flesh, weighted yet airy, his diction enunciated to the last ‘t’ that could blow out a candle. He made Eliot’s language dance, sing, sting, flow, spark and turn to embers in the series of symphonic meditations.

Conceived in lockdown, when Fiennes decided to set himself the task of learning Four Quartets, his performance could be termed a labour of love, but it is too transcendent to be burdened with a sense of labour.

Eliot’s final masterpiece, published in wartime 1943, brought together Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages and Little Giddings, each announced by Fiennes in an unbroken performance with resonance anew in our pandemic age of seeking survival amid a national (and international) crisis.

For all the turbulence and dissonance of war, Eliot’s tone is reflective, but never nostalgic, as he and in turn Fiennes addresses what Fiennes called “the perennial questions, the big, big ideas”: the passing of time and feeling trapped; the link between past, present and future; identity; existence; faith, the soul and spiritual yearning; the elements and the environment; the futility of war.

A chill wrapped itself around the Theatre Royal heat, as mortality, human frailty, the fire and the rose, signified the end. The rest was silence, Fiennes’s head bowed, as if to honour the passing of Eliot’s gilded, questing, mysterious words.

‘My God, it’s so modern; my God, it’s all about now,’ says Ralph Fiennes as he performs T S Eliot’s Four Quartets in York

“Four Quartets deals with such endless essential perennial questions of time, the spirit, the soul, the journey of the soul in life – big, big ideas,” says Ralph Fiennes. Picture: Matt Humphreys

RALPH Fiennes’s week-long run of his world premiere of T S Eliot’s Four Quartets will mark the return to full-capacity audiences at York Theatre Royal from Monday.

Good news for those who had missed out on tickets when the most in-demand production of the reopening Love Season was first put on sale with social distancing in place. This week’s unlocking of Step 4 has freed up the sudden availability of seats aplenty.

Please note that under the still-cautious Theatre Royal’s Covid-safety practices: “We strongly recommend that you wear a face covering out of respect for fellow audience members,” the management advises.

Star of stage and screen Fiennes is directing and performing in the world premiere of T S Eliot’s final masterpiece in his York Theatre Royal debut as the zenith of the Love Season after premiering the Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Theatre Royal, Bath co-production in Bath from May 25 to June 5.

After this summer’s regional tour, he will transfer Four Quartets to the Harold Pinter Theatre, London, for 36 performances from November 18 to December 18.

Fiennes’s solo theatre adaptation features Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages and Little Giddings, published together in 1943 in a quartet of four interwoven, symphonic meditations that ranges across themes of time, nature and the elements, faith and the quest for spiritual enlightenment and war and mortality.

Mostly written during the Second World War, when the closure of London playhouses during the Blitz interrupted Eliot’s work in theatre, his epic poem cycle contains “some of the most exquisite and unforgettable reflections on surviving periods of national crisis”, apt for our pandemic times.

Here, Fiennes answers a series of questions on Four Quartets, verse, versatility and villains

Where did the idea for doing Four Quartets come from?

“I’ve known it since I was quite young – we had the TS Eliot recording – so it’s something that’s been floating in and out of my awareness over the years. In the first lockdown last year I gave myself little things to engage my mind and memory, and I thought I’d learn Four Quartets.

Ralph Fiennes in rehearsal for Four Quartets

“And then various things I thought I’d do the early part of this year went away – films and so on – and it sort of transitioned.

“Could it not be put in a context where it was not just recited in a suit or something, but given a kind of gently, appropriately judged theatrical context?”

What happened next?

I was daunted and excited in equal measure by what it might be, but with the help of my agent Simon Beresford, [creative producer] James Dacre got behind it and liked the idea.

“Then the Eliot estate got behind it and then a lot of very talented people in theatre production were available – like Hildegard Bechtler, Chris Shutt and Tim Lutkin, all brilliant in their field.

“I’m a great believer in the energies of things signalling whether they’re meant to happen or not, so it seemed that the cumulative gathering of people being available and wanting to be part of it sent me a sign that this had some viability.”

Why does Four Quartets appeal to you?

“I think it deals with such endless essential perennial questions of time, the spirit, the soul, the journey of the soul in life – big, big ideas. In the end you could say the takeaway is ‘Live in the present’ but Eliot goes deeply into how we’re trapped in notions of sequential time.

“But it’s a very human quest by a man who I think has been through the wringer internally himself – questioning his existence, very unhappy marriage, sense of identity – and then the war crystallising this sense of quest. So it’s endlessly mysterious, but I think there are also ways of speaking it that are conversational and accessible.”

“One of the key and most common responses was: ‘My God, it’s so modern; my God, it’s all about now’,” says Fiennes of Four Quartets’ resonance in lockdown times.

How much is Eliot’s voice in your head?

Not much at all. I said to the team on our first day of rehearsal back in February that I thought we should all listen to Eliot’s recording – the master’s voice – but we all came away with a very strong sense that this was not helpful for us if we want to make this accessible.

“It’s an old-school delivery with a certain kind of refined English intellectual speaking: it has its own kind of beauty and it’s wonderful to hear his voice, but the dynamic of its communicative ability more for younger people today I think is questionable, because it feels from another time. I want the poem to communicate to younger minds; I want it to be active.”

Four Quartets was written in the 1930s and 1940s, when the world was in crisis. How strong is the resonance with today?

Very strong. We’re trapped in our houses, we’re denied all these norms of social interaction, assumptions about life and work and travel are all taken away, and so I sense we’re left with: what are we, who am I, what is of value in my life, in our shared lives?

“It continues to be a crisis of what we don’t know, where this thing is going. And Eliot references a sense of where we have to embrace not knowing: ‘And what you do not know is the only thing you know’.

“Doing it for colleagues and friends in rehearsal, one of the key and most common responses was: ‘My God, it’s so modern; my God, it’s all about now’. And that was a very frequent response to it.”

What do you hope this interpretation will achieve?

“I want to enable the poem to be heard. Eliot has not been a focus in the theatre for a while. In his writing there is a religiosity, or questions of faith, which perhaps is unfashionable.

T S Eliot: Writer of Four Quartets

“I love Eliot’s poetry: I think it continues to communicate and I think often great writers suffer from the zeitgeist or the vogue of the moment and get relegated and forgotten about.

“I have a belief that the poem can work and I think it does chime with the big questions or the existential questions that I think we are asking about who we are – and I think that’s thrown into focus by the Covid crisis.”

Why have you decided to take the performance to regional theatres?

“That was part of the proposition. First of all I just said, ‘Can we do this?’. Then Simon and James said, ‘What about doing it as a regional tour, to offer it to regional theatres who may be excited to be able to open their theatres with this?’.

“And that appealed to me. It appealed to me to not do it in London, just purely to have the experience of going to different cities. That excited me because it’s different – I’ve not done it and I’m very aware that there are committed theatre audiences all over the country, so it was a bit of a no-brainer. I love the idea of being on the road: it’s rather romantic.”

Why have you chosen theatres such as York Theatre Royal?

“I was very protective of the sense of intimacy. In some theatres we’re not selling the very top circle because I wanted to keep the sense of intimacy and didn’t want to have to go into the level of projected voice, where there are certain nuances and delicacies that often get diluted.

“The poem has to feel like a conversation. I remember going on stage and doing a bit and saying, ‘Can you hear? Is it working?’. It was just putting my toe in the water as to how it felt in the theatre because it’s all very well walking the paths of Suffolk, where I am, doing it to the sheep, but the thing is, how will it land?

You have enjoyed huge success in both film and theatre. Do you have a preference?

“I love the very simple thing that you walk on to a space, either a monologue in this case, or with other actors, and you start something and you create immediately.

“I want to enable the poem to be heard,” says Fiennes. “Eliot has not been a focus in the theatre for a while”

“Even as I get older, the simple essential magic or possibility of that is endlessly fascinating – so simple and so profound at the same time.

“Film is full of huge potential thrills in terms of what the end experience can be for an audience but the process of film-making is not actor-friendly really. But then you might say, surely in front of a theatre audience you don’t have the chance to do it again?

“No, you don’t, but there is a dynamic of contact with an audience so you’re in a dialogue with the people receiving it. I suppose the short answer to the question is, I think I’m more at home in the process of theatre.”

Your career has covered everything from the Bard to Bond. Do those jobs feel different in your head, or is it all just acting?

“It is a sort of truism that good writing is always attractive, whether it’s classical or modern writing. You can just feel the crackle. I think I’ve got any actor’s hunger as to what’s a good part where there’s human complexity, there’s dramatic impact. We all like to be challenged and stretched.”

Is it true that villains are more fun to play?

“In a kind of basic way. They’re not fun if they haven’t got any complexity to them. Actually, one of the challenges of Voldemort is that he was mostly just sheer, distilled evil – the point of Voldemort [in the Harry Potter films] is that he doesn’t have a conscience – and that was quite a challenge because there was no doubt or inner contradiction.

“What puts the full stop on Richard III being a great part is his sense of regret or fear about what’s he’s done, and suddenly you have this other colour – doubt – and then he puts the lid on it. So that stuff is great. If there’s endless degrees of grey, I think that’s really human.”

Ralph Fiennes in TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, York Theatre Royal, July 26 to 31, 8pm. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

“I think I’ve got any actor’s hunger as to what’s a good part where there’s human complexity, there’s dramatic impact,” says Fiennes

Back story

BORN in Ipswich on December 22 1962 , Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes has appeared in such films as Schindler’s List; The English Patient; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Constant Gardner; Skyfall; In Bruges; The Dig and The Harry Potter series.

Winner of a Tony Award for playing Hamlet, Fiennes has performed many of theatre’s most iconic roles. London theatre credits include Shakespeare’s Anthony And Cleopatra (National Theatre) and Richard III (Almeida) and Ibsen’s The Master Builder (Old Vic).

York Theatre Royal’s full statement on its Covid-safety protocol after all legal restrictions were lifted on July 19 under Step 4 of the “Roadmap to Recovery”, restoring full-capacity audiences:

“We are proud to be See It Safely-approved by the Society Of London Theatre and UK Theatre, so you can feel confident and safe knowing that we are following the latest Government and performing arts guidelines.

“We’ve outlined more about what to expect from a visit to the theatre below:

* Multiple hand sanitation points around the building, including on entry.

* Increased cleaning regime before and after performances.

* Face coverings worn by all staff and volunteers working in public areas.

* Windows and doors open, whenever possible, to allow fresh air to circulate.

“We strongly recommend that you wear a face covering out of respect for fellow audience members and our companies when coming into the theatre.

“As the situation is constantly changing, we shall continue to adapt our approach in line with any new guidance and your feedback. 

Find out more by visiting the website at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/show/four-quartets/

York Theatre Royal: Returning to full capacity from Monday