Published: 06:00, 06 May 2021
| Updated: 13:02, 14 May 2021
The smell of the greasepaint and the cheers from the audience have been missing from Kent's theatres for months on end.
As restrictions are set to ease further, and indoors venues can put on live shows again, we look at when the county's theatres are reopening and what shows they have in store for us.
Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells
The theatre is one of the first to reopen on Thursday, May 20 with one night of the Queen Concert Show Radio Ga Ga, before its first tour being the world premiere of Christie Watson's bestselling book - The Language of Kindness, a co-production with Wayward Productions and Complicite. Based on her memoirs of 20 years as a nurse the show celebrates the work of nurses and front line workers, it will run from Wednesday, May 26 to Saturday, May 29.
Theatre director, JJ Almond, said: "We couldn’t be prouder or more excited for The Language of Kindness to mark our return to the stage. Front line workers like those portrayed in the show have worked tirelessly throughout this extremely worrying period...This show is a celebration of those people while also serving as a reminder of how lucky we are to be back on stage again. I am confident that our team are going to put on a theatre experience like no other."
Book at assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk
The Stag, Sevenoaks
The theatre will reopen for live shows again on Thursday, May 20, with the music of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Carole King with the Night Owl theatre company, followed by Milton Jones on Sunday, May 30. Fit the Mould Productions brings 2020 The Musical from Friday, June 4 until Sunday, June 6, written by Natasha Mould about the affect the pandemic has had on theatre and the arts.
Book at stagsevenoaks.co.uk or call 01732 450175.
Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone
The theatre in Earl Street reopens to audiences on Wednesday, June 2, with the children's show Twirlywoos Live.
Its first major touring stage musical this year will be The Little Mermaid, a musical pantomime reimagined by David Phipps-Davis about the much-loved rebellious Ariel, a mermaid princess who craves to explore the world above the waves, starring Myra Dubois as the sea-witch, Ursula and Georgie Faith as Ariel. The show reaches the Hazlitt on Wednesday, August 25. For tickets call 01622 758611 or visit parkwoodtheatres.co.uk
Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
The theatre will reopen on Tuesday, June 8, with a bang when it launches the new national tour of the multi award-winning musical SIX, featuring the six wives of Henry VIII telling their own personal tales, remixing 500 years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power.
The tour of SIX will be rehearsed and premiered at The Marlowe before touring the country. It will be performed to a socially-distanced audience, who will sit alongside illustrated cut-outs in spare seats by portrait artist Ben Dickson of iconic figures from Kent’s past and present. Deborah Shaw, chief executive said: “SIX is the perfect show to celebrate our reopening and we are all looking forward to welcoming audiences. It’s going to be a special moment in The Marlowe’s history."
The show runs from Tuesday, June 8 to Sunday, June 27. Book at marlowetheatre.com or call 01227 787787.
Orchard Theatre, Dartford
The theatre, which was recently acquired by Trafalgar Entertainment, will reopen on Monday, June 28 with Friendsical, the musical inspired by the gang in Friends, and featuring songs including (He’s her) Lobster!, Richard’s Moustache and You’re Over Me,When Were You Under Me?.
The show runs from Monday, June 28 to Wednesday, June 30, and is followed in the autumn by shows including Rocky Horror Show and Dirty Dancing.
Book at orchardtheatre.co.uk or call 01322 220000.
Theatre Royal, Margate
The Thanet theatre reopens for live shows inside on Tuesday, June 29, with Status Quo star Francis Rossi's rescheduled tour, I Talk Too Much, and 70s band Showaddywaddy on Saturday, July 31, with an interlude on the beach on Saturday, July 24 with the Changeling Theatre's tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Book at margate-live.com
Margate Winter Gardens
The venues reopens to audiences on Friday, June 25 with Bongo's Bingo, and follows that up with comedian Jimmy Carr on Tuesday, June 29, which is almost sold out. On Saturday, July 3, party night Club Tropicana will be bringing the hits of the 90s and 00s to fancy dressed revellers.
Book at margate-live.com
The Woodville, Gravesend
Like many of the county's theatres, the town centre venue has become a vaccination centre in recent months, and won't reopen for live shows indoors until Friday, September 10. In the meantime, the town will have pop-up cinema showings at Cascades Leisure Centre and open-air theatre at Fort Gardens in June. Its first show in September will be comedy from Sukh Ojla, Life Sukhs, followed by Hits from the Blitz on Sunday, September 12.
Book at woodville.co.uk
EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge
The theatre's first live show in its socially distanced auditorium after the latest enforced closure is on Friday, May 21, with Zoe Lyons headlining and Russell Hicks compering. It will be followed by Sing Onstage: Live on Saturday, May 29, featuring local professional artists and Dance Onstage: Live on Sunday, May 30.
Book at emftheatre.com
Churchill Theatre, Bromley
The theatre's first show sees The Drifters arrive on stage on Saturday, June 26, followed by Be Bop A Lula the following night, and then Jimmy Carr's sold out show on Tuesday, July 6. The theatre has comedy and live music shows throughout the summer and children's shows including Milkshake! Live on Tuesday, August 24; In the Night Garden Live on Tuesday, August 31 and Wednesday, September 1, and Horrible Histories on Friday, September 3 and Saturday, September 4.
Book at churchilltheatre.co.uk