The Lowry announces first live shows since lockdown will be SIX and The Gruffalo

Photo: Johan Persson
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We’ve all missed live theatre these past few months, and it’s been hard seeing venues empty.

But today comes a glimmer of good news, as The Lowry in Salford has confirmed plans to go ahead with not one, but two Christmas shows this November and December.

Theatregoers can choose between the international smash hit musical SIX (running from 27th November 2020 until 10th January 2021) and family favourite The Gruffalo (12th December 2020 until 10th January 2021).

Both shows were originally set to take place in the venue’s 450-seat Quays Theatre, but have now moved into the much larger 1,700-seat Lyric Theatre which can allow for 1m+ social distancing between each booking.

All existing ticket holders are being contacted about the new arrangements.

SIX is returning to The Lowry after a sell-out run last Christmas. The show has become a global phenomenon since its early days as a student production at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has been nominated for five Olivier Awards.

Photo: Johan Persson

“We accept that with social distancing it is unlikely to be economically viable, but we hope to entertain many thousands of theatregoers who have been starved of live entertainment since March,” say the show’s producers.

“We are sure that opening SIX will help to build audience confidence and bring business back to the local economy. We also understand that restarting productions, particularly musicals, remains impossible for most producers for reasons of scale, finance and lack of cancellation insurance.

“We continue to look forward to the day when social distancing is removed and theatres can play to 100% capacity.”

The new seating configuration for both shows allows for COVID-secure deep-cleaning of the auditorium between each performance and ensures zero crossover of incoming and outgoing audiences, says The Lowry.

Temperature checks will be taken of all audience members entering the building and face covering policy will be in place together with sanitising stations throughout the venue and staggered entry times to reduce queues.

“We’re very fortunate to have three different sized theatre spaces under our roof – and moving an audience of 450 into an auditorium that can seat 1,700 has allowed us to accommodate the required social distancing measures as they stand – with any subsequent adjustments to those measures to be implemented as they arise,” says Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry.

“Many venues will not have the physical space to juggle their programme in this way.

“It’s desperately sad to see so many theatres with no option but to remain closed at Christmas.

“We just want to do everything we can to ensure ‘the show will go on’.”

New bookings for SIX in the Lyric Theatre go on-sale at 10am on Wednesday 16th September. New bookings for The Gruffalo in the Lyric Theatre go on-sale on Friday 25th September.

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