Theatre venues 'optimistic' despite Plan B rules

Dancers at the Cromer Pier Christmas Show.

A scene from this year's Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Openwide Coastal

Theatres in north Norfolk are optimistic the government's new 'Plan B' rules designed to ward off the spread of the Omicron variant will not affect their audience sizes.

From Friday, December 10, it will be compulsory - for anyone who is not exempt - to wear face coverings in places such as theatres, affecting coastal venues such as the Sheringham Little Theatre, the Cromer Pier's Pavilion Theatre and Great Yarmouth's St George's Theatre.

Debbie Thompson, director of the Sheringham and Yarmouth theatres, said: "We have been keeping up with social distancing anyway - we've only been selling to 50pc capacity and people have been booking in their bubbles.

Sheringham Little Theatre is one of the Norfolk venues reopening.

Sheringham Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson.  - Credit: Contributed

"The staff have been wearing masks and a lot of customers have been wearing masks away - now we are just changing the signs to say they are compulsory. 

"Fingers crossed we will still have a lovely season, masks or not."

The Little Theatre and St Georges are gearing up for their festive panto - Jack and the Beanstalk - which will be in Great Yarmouth December 11-19 and in Sheringham December 21-31.

Deb Lewis, box office marketing and retail manager at Cromer Pier, said: "The change in rules about face masks is obviously a bit of a blow.

"But we're optimistic that it's not going to affect ticket sales too much, as a lot of people have been wearing masks anyway."

Cromer Pier feature. The Pavilion Theatre box office and sales manager Deb Lewis with general manage

Cromer Pier box office and sales manager Deb Lewis. - Credit: ANTONY KELLY

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The Pavilion Theatre is in the midst of its Christmas variety show, which runs until December 30.   

Under the new rules, the list of places where face masks are required includes: village halls, social clubs, libraries, places of worship, visitor attractions, aquariums and zoos, shops and auction houses.

Also included are estate and letting agents, takeaways without space for consumption of food or drink on premises, malls and indoor markets, (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals.