Shropshire arts venues suffer further blow as bosses prepare to lock down

Arts venues and attractions throughout Shropshire have suffered a further setback as owners prepare to temporarily close for a month.

Festival Drayton Centre manager Robyn Edwards with volunteer Malcolm Kay
Festival Drayton Centre manager Robyn Edwards with volunteer Malcolm Kay

Many venues had just been getting back on their feet, but will now have to say goodbye to customers until at least December 2 following the Prime Minister's announcement of a second national lockdown.

This means the period of waiting continues for struggling venues eager to welcome back audiences and visitors for live performances and exhibitions.

In Market Drayton, managers at the Festival Drayton Centre said trade had just begun to pick up following a phased reopening in August.

Robyn Edwards, centre manager, said: "We're obviously going to have to completely shut for a month now – which is a real kick in the teeth.

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"We opened our coffee shop on August 17 for three days a week, and things had just started picking up again. We were welcoming back our regular customers that maybe didn't come out at the beginning.

"We were getting busier so to have to now close again is really disappointing. We've got room hires for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but then we'll have to close."

Unfortunate

Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn had planned to resume live events in November, but will now see its performances either rescheduled or cancelled.

Craig Reeves, marketing manager, said: "The timing of the latest government restrictions is rather unfortunate, as like so many theatres we had planned to resume live events during November, with social distancing and limited capacities in operation, alongside our cinema programme.

"All scheduled events between November 5 and December 2 will now be either rescheduled or cancelled, and Theatre Severn will be closed to the public during this time.

"We know both audiences and the team at the venue had been excited by the prospect of taking a step forward this month so to have those plans delayed, while necessary and understandable, is naturally very disappointing.

"All ticket holders affected by our temporary closure will be contacted in the coming days with further advice. We now plan to reopen and resume live events and film screenings in early December, and look forward to welcoming audiences again at the earliest opportunity.”

Despite the difficulties, Robyn said the future of the centre was not under threat.

"Thanks to the hard work of staff and volunteers over the years, we'll be able to reopen the centre. It will still be here, it's just a case of when and how.

"We were hoping live events would be back up and running in March, but now that may be delayed."

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