Published: 17:23, 18 November 2020
| Updated: 17:24, 18 November 2020
Kent's largest theatre has announced a special season of "socially-distanced" shows to bring the joy of live entertainment back to audiences.
The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury will be welcoming Outnumbered actors Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner, along with a special one-off Christmas brass concert, and comics including Russell Kane, for performances to reduced crowds.
But after cancelling its traditional and hugely popular pantomime, it announced a "fun-sized" festive show Nurse Nellie Saves Panto - which is running from December 11 to January 3, to smaller audiences.
And theatre bosses have today revealed more live performances are on the cards.
On December 21, The Marlowe’s resident orchestra, the Philharmonia, will be appearing with a special one-off Christmas concert for all the family featuring their brass section playing festive favourites.
Early next year, audiences will be able to enjoy some comic fun with Live At The Marlowe on January 22, headlined by Sara Pascoe.
The laughs will continue with the return of the West End favourite The Play That Goes Wrong, set to run between January 26 and 31, followed by an appearance by Russell Kane and Friends on February 6.
A new production of Michael Frayn’s Olivier Award-winning play Benefactors, starring Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner - known for playing husband and wife in BBC’s Outnumbered - is coming to Canterbury later in the season.
The witty comedy set in the 1980s will run between March 16 and 20.
Cole Porter’s classic musical Kiss Me, Kate runs between April 12 and 17, with an ensemble of actor-musicians performing such legendary Broadway numbers as It’s Too Darn Hot and Another Op’nin, Another Show.
Choreography is by Strictly Come Dancing champion Oti Mabuse, who will also visit The Marlowe for two nights with her first-ever dance show I Am Here on May 12 and 13.
All productions will be performed to a socially-distanced audience, meaning that there will be fewer people in the auditorium than normal to ensure appropriate distancing between groups.
The Marlowe is complying with the latest government and industry guidance to help keep venue Covid-secure.
The theatre's chief executive Deborah Shaw said: “We are delighted to be able to share news of our socially-distanced season. We can’t wait to welcome people through our doors again.
"The Marlowe team have been working hard to ensure that your theatre visit is as safe and as memorable as ever.”
Tickets go on sale to Marlowe Members tomorrow (Thursday) and to the general public on Monday.
With limited seating available, ticket demand is expected to be high and customers are advised to book early, or join as a member to get priority booking.
Tickets can be booked via marlowetheatre.com or by calling The Marlowe Box Office on 01227 787787.