THE show will go on – and neither coronavirus nor Tier 3 restrictions are going to stop it!
That’s the pledge from Aunty Jen Productions who are livestreaming a performance of their panto Sleeping Beauty online tomorrow evening, Sunday, December 13.
The Studley-based company had been months preparing and rehearsing for a three week run from today, December 12 – until the Government announced its Covid tiering on December 2 placing South Warwickshire – a region with one of the lowest infection rates in the country – in Tier 3.
By that time the team, which includes talented professional actors from across the region plus an army of willing volunteers, backed by a bumper grant from the Arts Council, had been poised for curtain up and to put an end to nine months lost to Covid-19.
Founder and director Jen Stone said for the first time in her life she had been lost for words.
“I think I sat for an hour unable to say a thing,” she said.
“We were anticipating going into Tier 1 or at worse Tier 2 the infection rate was so low, and it was in utter disbelief that we found ourselves in Tier 3.
“Here we were, surrounded by green fields, all our rehearsals had followed the Covid-19 rules, we kept our social distancing, temperatures were checked, everyone was really excited and then, well, we were absolutely stunned by the news.”
What they didn’t realise, and it took a Judicial Review from Stratford District Council to find out, was that South Warwickshire had been lumped in with North Warwickshire and Coventry.
The ruling not only put the brakes on the run of performances at their venue – Studley Sports Centre in Abbeyfield Drive by Redditch, but also sank a string of shows planned for St Mary’s First School in Studley.
Undaunted, through the Studley in Business group Jen got in touch with video production company AV Interactive, based in Alcester.
Thanks to their input the livestream event on Sunday evening has become a reality plus there will also be a special production broadcast to every classroom at St Mary’s on Monday, December 14, so the children won’t miss out on their panto fun.
“We’ve had them send in their jokes and we’ll be doing birthday shout outs too, so it’s going to be great,” said Jen.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on December 16 when the tiering system will be reviewed by the Government.
If South Warwickshire is placed in Tier 2 live performances will go ahead from December 19 at Studley Sports Centre.
Until then tickets for the livestream are being sold on a per household basis at £18 each and can be bought from https://auntyjenproductions.co.uk/ – simply click on the Book Here rose to be taken through to the try booking website.
From there ticketholders will receive a password to access the show on Sunday.
As of today, Saturday, December 12, current Covid infection rates for the region are as follows:
Stratford District – 52.3 per 100,000; Redditch – 107.9; Bromsgrove – 126.2; Warwick – 123.8; Solihull – 144.2; Coventry – 129.7; Nuneaton & Bedworth (in North Warwickshire) – 182.5; North Warwickshire – 124.1; Birmingham – 192.4.