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Coronavirus Kent: Sheppey and Sittingbourne theatres close

Theatres across Sittingbourne and Sheppey have closed as a result of the coronavirus scare.

The Sheppey Little Theatre and Oasis Academy Theatre, both in Sheerness, the Criterion Theatre in Blue Town and the Avenue Theatre in Sittingbourne have all axed a raft of shows.

Director Jenny Hurkett at her new office at the Blue Town Heritage Centre and Criterion Theatre, Sheerness (31942250)
Director Jenny Hurkett at her new office at the Blue Town Heritage Centre and Criterion Theatre, Sheerness (31942250)

Jenny Hurkett at the Criterion said: "Following the government’s advice on Covid 19 the Blue Town Heritage Centre, including the box office, tea room, cinema and music hall closed on Thursdayuntil further notice.

"Customers should hold onto their tickets as we will be reorganising the films and shows.

"Our award-winning volunteers (they won the Swale Volunteers award for heritage last week) will be working in isolation and contacting those who have booked to explain what we are doing."

She said updates would be published on Facebook and the centre's website. Customers would also be emailed.

She added: "We look forward to seeing everyone as soon as we reopen."

The Sheppey Little Theatre. Picture: Chris Davey FM3027040 (31884878)
The Sheppey Little Theatre. Picture: Chris Davey FM3027040 (31884878)

It could affect Mickie Driver's Bless 'Em All afternoon sing-a-long shows due to run from April 7-16.

Little Theatre spokesman Janys Thornton said: "This is very disappointing, especially as we still need to pay our overheads. But we need to keep our volunteers and regular users safe as well as our audience members."

An Avenue Theatre spokesman said: "In line with the latest COVID-19 information we have cancelled all our shows and films for the next couple of months. Many thanks to our patrons for their help and understanding at this difficult time."

The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury has also gone dark for a month and West End theatres and museums have also closed.

Sheppey Little shows postponed include Martin and Rosemary Hawkins' talk As You Like It on Friday, April 3; Newington Concert Party's Life Is What You Mark it on Saturday, May 9; The Terribly Disappointing Mr Pummell on Saturday, April 25; Nicky Hart's Hart of Elvis tribute show on Saturday, May 2 and The Kylie Story on Thursday, June 25.

Craft Show - Easter Eggstravagnaza at Sheppey Little Theatre, Meyrick Road, SheernessJanys Thornton and her art Picture: Ruth Cuerden FM3728536 (31884881)
Craft Show - Easter Eggstravagnaza at Sheppey Little Theatre, Meyrick Road, SheernessJanys Thornton and her art Picture: Ruth Cuerden FM3728536 (31884881)

Mrs Thornton added: "We have just heard The Jerseys show Oh What a Nite on April 10 has been postponed until November 19 following advice from HM Government on coronavirus.

"The tickets will remain valid for the new date and the seats will not change. Those who cannot make November 19 can get a full refund from SheppyGlass or swap them for our Queen tribute in June."

The Terribly Disappointing Mr Pummell on April 25 has also been postponed

She added: "We hope shows in May and beyond will be able to go ahead as normal."

A fundraising quiz night at West Minster School for this Fridayand a craft fair at the theatre in Meyrick Road as part of Kent's Big Weekend on Sunday, April 5 have already been cancelled.

In Sittingbourne, Swale Film Society's showing of Peanut Butter Falcon (12A) next Fridayhas been shelved along with Creativedge Productionsof Magic of the Musicals on Saturday.

Others affected are Red Riding Hood by Avenue Theatre Productions from April 1-4;The Jo Jo Siwa Tribute Show on Tuesday, April 14; Abba Chique on Sunday, April 26; Arthur's Dream Boat on Saturday, May 2 and All Clear, a Subgrey Theatre Company production on May 22 & 23.

Customers who have already bought tickets will be contacted by the box office and offered a refund.

Cancelled: a raft of shows bit the dust at the Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne (31884324)
Cancelled: a raft of shows bit the dust at the Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne (31884324)

First to bite the dust at the Oasis Theatre in Marine Parade was the Princes of Motown show on Saturday. The Take That Experience on May 16 has also been pulled.

Organisers are hoping customers will exchange their £15 tickets for their Forever Michael Jackson show on September 26 or Abba Magic tribute on November 28 "to secure our business going forward." Those who can't, can get refunds this Saturdayat Sheerness Golf Club in Power Station Road, Sheerness East.

For more details visit www.ldevents.co.uk.

To find out what’s going on in the county and for all the latest entertainment news click here.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne


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