finanA HISTORIC seaside theatre has dramatically swung open its doors to the public and performers for the first time six months.

The West Cliff Theatre, in Tower Road, Clacton, has entertained audiences of locals and day-trippers for more than 100 years.

Following the outbreak of coronavirus and initial national lockdown it was forced to turn out the stage lights and close the curtain.

After a turbulent and uncertain few months, the venue did reopen around Christmas time, but shut down again as Covid-19 cases soared once more.

Having weathered the pandemic storm, the West Cliff Theatre is now back up and running and over the weekend staged its first shows since December.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Rob Mitchell-Gears, venue manager, said: “We were thrilled to reopen and welcome back Evolution Dance Foundation on Saturday and their Class of 2020/21.

“It was a delight to have the students, staff and parents here to celebrate all the hard work the performers have done over a very difficult year.

“Then to top it all our performance on Sunday was sold out. I must clarify that a ‘sell out’ show is just under 180 seats.

“Obviously, this is just not financially sustainable for anyone in our industry, so we are all desperate to get back to normal operational status as soon as possible”.

Despite the setbacks over the past year, the West Cliff Theatre has wasted no time in preparing an exciting programme of performances ahead of its return.

With the likes of Jim Davidson, John Lydon, The Bootleg Shadows, and Lee Mead set to perform at venue, the theatre is gearing up for a bumper summer.

Rob is therefore hopeful he has seen the last of the lockdowns but has now urged theatregoers to get behind the arts hub to ensure its long-term survival.

He said: “We are keeping everything crossed for a great summer and beyond, but it is absolutely vital that people book tickets in advance.

“With so much uncertainty, artists, promoters, and venues are keeping a very close eye on ticket sales,

“Unfortunately, we may have to cancel some shows if the figures aren’t financially viable.

“But you can book with confidence as we will refund or credit customers if a show is cancelled or affected by Covid-19 related issues over the coming months.

“We really hope people will come and support us this summer and beyond.

“We have an incredible line up of shows and after such a long and difficult period for the whole country, there really is nothing better than live entertainment.”