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Coronavirus: Bridgnorth theatre turns to community to entertain in talent showcase

By Rory Smith | Bridgnorth | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

Theatres throughout Shropshire may have temporarily shut down, but one venue in Bridgnorth has declared the show must go on.

Iain Reddihough gets into character for the role of Tom Oakley, from the production Goodnight Mister Tom, which he played at the theatre a few years ago, ready for his submission on the theatre's social media page

The Theatre on the Steps has been entertaining audiences for decades, but manager Iain Reddihough said amid the coronavirus lockdown, now is the time for the "audience to entertain the theatre" with showcases of local talent and entertainment.

People with a talent or skill, or those just looking to bring a smile to others, can record a video and send it to the theatre.

Submissions will then be distributed via the theatre's social media pages, with a prize of champagne and free tickets for the best three.

Mr Reddihough, who has been involved in running the theatre for more than 20 years, has kicked off the submissions with a video of himself in the role of Tom Oakley, from Goodnight Mister Tom, which he played at the theatre a few years ago.

Iain Reddihough gets into character for the role of Tom Oakley, from the production Goodnight Mister Tom, which he played at the theatre a few years ago, ready for his submission on the theatre's social media page

Mr Reddihough said: "At the end of last week I had to visit the theatre following an emergency alarm call out – fortunately, a false call.

"I walked through the theatre checking it out and ended up on the stage with the half light provided by the working lights.

"I looked out into the empty auditorium and felt that the theatre had lost that atmosphere, that feeling of anticipation, that sense of excitement.

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"A few seconds later I realised it wasn’t the theatre that had lost those things – it was me. I am sure many people will have experienced similar feelings.

"I spent a few minutes remembering some of the many highlights of all those shows, the many times I had seen the audiences on their feet, honouring a performance with a standing ovation.

Iain Reddihough gets into character for the role of Tom Oakley, from the production Goodnight Mister Tom, which he played at the theatre a few years ago, ready for his submission on the theatre's social media page

"I thought about our future, but somewhat decimated programme, and all the great shows that we have lined up and realised that our job at the theatre is to entertain our audiences.

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"We can’t do that at the moment so I decided it was about time the audience entertained the theatre."

He added: "Many of you will be at home, unable to go out, so now is the time to show your talent, sing that song, dance that dance, recite that poem, tell that joke, record that 'You’ve been Framed' video."

To submit an entry, email it to admin@theatreonthesteps.co.uk.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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