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Outdoor theatre to go ahead at the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge this summer

A theatre in Kent which has been shut since March will stage special outdoor performances this summer, adapted for the times we are living in.

The EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge will be welcoming back audiences next month for three shows, which will have limited audience numbers, and visitors in their households and social bubbles.

Romeo and Juliet, in the age of the coronavirus, will be outdoors at the EM Forster Theatre Picture: Rah Petherbridge
Romeo and Juliet, in the age of the coronavirus, will be outdoors at the EM Forster Theatre Picture: Rah Petherbridge

But the shows themselves, and the performers, have also been affected by the current pandemic. Local group The Talentz were due to perform their adaptation of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat back in April.

Undeterred by lockdown, they continued rehearsing and have created a socially-distanced version of the show which will be performed in the Library Gardens from Thursday, August 27 to Saturday, August 29.

For the last three years environmentally sustainable outdoor theatre company The Handlebards have entertained audiences in Tonbridge with their humorous and chaotic adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays.

With three of the company’s actors living together in lockdown, they were able to adapt costumes and props and rehearse a three-hander version of Romeo and Juliet, as well as their first children’s show - all in their living room - which will also be staged outdoors on Bank Holiday Monday, August 31.

Gnora the Gnome will be performed outdoors Picture: Rah Petherbridge
Gnora the Gnome will be performed outdoors Picture: Rah Petherbridge

Co-artistic directors Paul Moss and Tom Dixon said: “We’re excited to get on the road and offer the UK some much needed entertainment. Whilst these shows aren’t our usual four-hander cyclepowered offer, they will be as irreverent, charming and family-friendly as always.

"We’re particularly excited to showcase our first ever children’s show for under 10s, Gnora the Gnome’s Daytime Disco, which we co-produced with Green Submarine Theatre. It promises to offer classic disco tunes and gentle fun to help ease your little ones out of lockdown.”

Gnora the gnome, and her brothers Gnorman and Gneville, have all been stuck underground for months. Now that they can get back outdoors, they’re going to have a disco to celebrate.

Forget the tears and tragedy, pack a picnic and get ready for the socially-distanced, laugh-out-loud Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, by the HandleBards also on the Bank Holiday Monday.

For full details of the safety measures for the outdoor performances go to emftheatre.com

Tickets will be emailed to ticket holders in advance. Tickets for The Talentz cost £18 while Gnora the Gnome tickets £13 for under 12s and one free adult ticket with each child. Romeo and Juliet tickets cost £18, with under 10s free.

Book by calling the box office on 01732 304241 or visiting emftheatre.com

For more entertainments news across Kent click here.


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