For the theatre industry, the pandemic has struck hard – with theatres up and down the country being the first to close and the last to reopen. Although critical lifelines have been given to in the form of the Culture Recovery Fund, it has still made the situation for organisation a precarious one.
The treasured Grade II listed Trinity Arts Centre in Gainsborough has not escaped the effects of the pandemic, however their outlook has been one of opportunity and optimism.
“Originally, we thought that programming Psychic Sally Morgan on Friday 13th March 2020 would be the best marketing tactic, and it was, the event was a sell-out. Little did we know that toying with superstition would have us closed for 18 months a few days later,” explains Craig Sanders, Trinity Arts Centre’s manager.
That weekend was to be Trinity’s last weekend of live performances for some time.
Craig added: “Before all this, Trinity was enjoying a full programme of events that were almost all sold out. The venue was very active with shows, films, groups and classes, so to have to stop all that was devastating.”
As custodians of the theatre, it wasn’t possible to just shut and lock the doors. Trinity Arts Centre is a heritage asset and, as a result, requires regular inspection and maintenance. Equipped with key worker status, the team were able to maintain the inspection and maintenance schedule and think about the future.
“We suddenly found ourselves in an empty building with no interruptions of a busy performance schedule. It was the opportune moment to set about giving the venue some much needed TLC.”
Whilst Craig set about dealing with front of house, Callum Robinson, the theatre’s technical manager, set about dealing with backstage.
All efforts were focussed on improving the venue’s aesthetic, functionality and ensuring everything was compliant with the updated regulations. Visitors can expect to see full redecoration of the front of house areas using a pallet of light greys and purple to match the venue’s branding; an old storage room has been brought back into public use as a meeting space and gallery; the bar has received a complete overhaul; new digital signage has been installed; the stage rig has been dismantled, cleaned and reassembled; new stage drapes have been hung; and new LED stage lighting has been installed, which is sure to give visiting productions the wow factor!
Other areas have also had an upgrade including the venue’s Box Office. The new system means people can buy tickets and manage their account online. Trinity has been able to scrap the old online £1.50 booking fee so booking online is now free, however a new booking fee of £1.00 is charged for in person or telephone orders to help cover the cost of service.
During the venue’s period of closure, the team were also working hard to make sure community groups could still meet when allowed and so maintained a very active programme ranging from dance classes through to adult education. Trinity also presented a number of virtual productions which people enjoyed from the comfort of their own homes and has successfully staged five outdoor performances.
A major project is an overhaul of the venue’s website which should be ready to launch around September.
An autumn season of shows has now been announced, including the theatre’s annual pantomime which this year is Aladdin and is produced by Anton Benson Productions.
To view upcoming shows visit www.trinityarts.co.uk to book online or call the box office on 01427 676655.