Published: 15:20, 04 September 2020
| Updated: 15:23, 04 September 2020
Kent's biggest theatre has staged a show in front of an audience for the first time since March.
The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury temporarily closed down nearly six months ago in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic .
But the theatre reopened on Thursday with a performance by its youth company and community participants about life during lockdown.
Called Opening Up, the project saw participants share pieces of theatre, dance and visual arts in different spaces across the building, all of which explored their own experiences and stories of life during the unprecedented time.
It was performed on both Thursday and Friday, with 36 young people taking part.
With performances that were in turn amusing, poignant and tragic, the pieces were the participants’ own creative responses to the many different impacts that the pandemic has had on young people and their loved ones over the last six months.
Opening Up was devised during workshops that have taken place online since April.
Stories told as part of Opening Up touched on subjects including dealing with heartbreak during the lockdown, and baking cherry scones as a way to cope.
The performance took place in different places across the building, and ended with all of the participants standing on The Marlowe’s main stage - the first performers to do so since March.
Socially distanced, they then removed their masks and took a collective breath, before the curtain fell.
Chris, a member of The Marlowe’s Youth Company who performed in Opening Up said: "It was quite emotional seeing everyone and walking onto a stage again.
"It was such a happy feeling being able to share our pieces with actual audiences.
"You get that overwhelming feeling of adrenaline when performing and it felt so good to be back.”
There is currently no confirmed date as to when indoor performances can resume without social distancing at the venue.
This has meant The Marlowe has been forced to cancel or postpone many of its shows until next year - including its popular Christmas pantomime .