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living WELL



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ring a h s r d fo th us r a h c i sR wi Thankexperience ay und rough S your y l e v lly lo e Marlbo a e r A h at Th m, r a h d c e n u L entre of D le for fou in the c ed to get a tab e busy and managough they wer and plenty even th for all. Tasty e staff were roasts und. Also th s feel very to go ro ic and made u and can’t fantast e. Brilliant welcom go back. rant u a t o t s t e r wai t your review

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A little gem...dark, but not in spirit T

he Headgate Theatre has been at the heart of amateur theatre in Colchester since 2002. Tucked behind the former Playhouse Theatre, off St John’s Street in Colchester, more recently the theatre has seen an increasing number of small-scale professional productions appear at this ‘little gem of a theatre’. Last year saw the expansion into the former Warehouse Brasserie restaurant, creating a new rehearsal room and meeting room as well as additional backstage space. Officially opened in April 2019 and visited by Sir Ian McKellen, it was the start of a new chapter or ‘act’ in the theatre’s development, with new performance, rehearsal, and meeting spaces available in the centre of town. It has become a venue for wellbeing groups as well as meetings of local theatre practitioners and the presentation of new work, alongside the diverse range of performances in the auditorium. Several productions at the theatre, both our own and by those that hire us, have collected a raft of nominations in the annual North East Essex Theatre Guild Awards. In addition we have a thriving


theatre workshop for the over 50’s ,(Act V), that meets each Monday. Not to be thwarted by lockdown, they have been meeting online via Zoom, undertaking workshops on character, She Stoops to Conquer and Noel Coward’s Private Lives. The need to close in March (or in theatre terms ‘go dark’), due to the Covid-19 restrictions, came particularly hard. Two sell-out productions were postponed, and our new Summer programme was cancelled as we made refunds, or moved productions and tickets to new dates in the Autumn when we hoped that we might re-open. Alas this was not to be. Despite government announcements about re-opening of venues, maintaining 2 metres social distancing reduces our audience capacity from 81 to 12! Ironically, the money previously set aside for essential work on the building, and a prudent level of financial reserve has meant their being little chance of support from the government Culture Recovery Fund, which is aimed at those at imminent risk of failure by March 2021. The theatre has a small number of paid staff, relying mainly on volunteers to run

the organisation. It has been assisted by the government job retention scheme, but with the greatest reluctance the Trustees have had to start the process of consultation on redundancy. This decision is not taken lightly but our duty as a charity is to act in a way which will enable us to provide a facility for performance going forward. Going forward, while closed for performances, the building is in use by wellbeing groups and dance schools and we have 5 spaces for hire for a socially distanced event or meeting. Thank you to all our patrons and volunteers for their continued support during these challenging times for all of us. Some of our customers have been amazingly generous and where due a refund have instead donated their ticket money to the theatre. The theatre may be ‘dark’, but it doesn’t describe our enthusiasm to see the building up and running again.

For further information on the Headgate Theatre visit www. find us on Facebook and Twitter or call 01206 366000

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Issue 198 Living Well  

Delivered FREE every month to homes in the CO postcode of North East Essex. To advertise in Elite, call Sales on 07795 816766.

Issue 198 Living Well  

Delivered FREE every month to homes in the CO postcode of North East Essex. To advertise in Elite, call Sales on 07795 816766.


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