A cash injection of £71k from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund is cause for celebration at Stables Theatre Hastings.

The news comes as the volunteer-run venue prepares to open its doors to the public with a calendar of events throughout the coming months. They will host the first of their performances, Fetch Theatre’s Caravan of Love, on 10th November. 

Jonny Magnanti
PICTURE: Peter Mould

Chairman Neil Sellman welcomes the news after a difficult year. “The Stables is delighted to have received a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund, enabling the theatre to continue with its current plan of developing community engagement in Hastings and St Leonards. Supporting diversity and inclusion is vital in such difficult times and the grant will allow us to do this with a ‘soft’ opening from November 2020 to, hopefully, a full opening in March 2021.”

This ‘soft’ opening means smaller audiences and fewer cast and crew, maintaining the balance between a comfortable atmosphere and adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.

Introducing social distancing on and off the stage is just one of the safety measures that the theatre is incorporating into the reopening.

Only six people are involved at any one time in the productions – this includes cast, stage manager, technicians and front of house staff. All are socially distanced, including the actors on stage unless in a bubble; props and furniture won’t be shared either. 

Initially the plays will be only one act and will run without an interval. Drinks will be served before the performances allowing bar staff to leave, ensuring that the rule of six isn’t broken throughout.

Sophie Louise Dann
PICTURE: Darren Bell

With bookings taking place prior to the night; masks worn in the building and the use of Track and Trace, those attending should be reassured and able to enjoy the return to much-missed live entertainment.

Caravan of Love is just one of the performances that will mark this revival. Also on the calendar for November is the powerful “four-letter TV poem fury” V, a play by Jonny Magnanti that takes to the stage on the 14th , while Fetch Theatre bring Mary Celeste and the Beast of the Bowery to life on the 16th and 18th. The satirical play, Archie, performed by Patrick Kealey embodying a typewriting cockroach, is described as entertainment with “a bite” and can be enjoyed on 21st November.

Into December, and Helen Ward-Jackson and Natalie Roberts have created a family-friendly musical tribute to the best loved leading ladies from the last seven decades. Leading Ladies at Christmas will grace the boards on the 8th, 10th and 12th.  

Olivier nominated Sophie Louise Dann rounds off the year in style with a special festive edition of her sell out cabaret, May I Have a Moment, on the 16th, 19th and 21st of December.

With safety paramount and funding in place, the return to live theatre should be a smooth one with its focus rightly on-stage and not off. The reopening of venues such as The Stables, enabling the arts to be enjoyed as they should, is surely one reason to celebrate this winter.

More information can be found at www.stablestheatre.co.uk or
by ringing 01424 423221 504.

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