Durham’s Gala Theatre and Cinema will remain closed until January 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The closure will be used to carry out planned refurbishments to the foyer, bar and box office.
In a statement on Thursday 9th July, the Gala Theatre emphasised that “the safety of our customers, staff and performers is our priority”.
These “long-awaited refurbishments” were planned before the pandemic, and the Gala hopes that “these changes will create more welcoming, and fit-for-purpose areas for all our customers”.
The news came on the same day that the government released more guidance on re-opening theatre venues, which will allow outdoor performances to resume with precautionary measures on 11th July.
However, no dates were given for the further reopening of indoor venues, something Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan described as “disappointing”.
“The safety of our customers, staff and performers is our priority”Gala Theatre and Cinema
The Gala Theatre, located in a custom-built £15m building at the bottom of Claypath, is one of Durham’s largest arts venues.
In January 2020, it hosted a student production of Oklahoma! from Durham University Light Opera Group (DULOG). The Gala’s adjacent two-screen cinema, which will also remain closed until January, usually screens films daily.
This will be the first time in the theatre’s eighteen-year history that the annual pantomime – this year planned to be Robin Hood – won’t be performed at the venue.
The Gala Theatre confirmed on their website that for cancelled shows, customers will be given a full refund. For rescheduled performances, previously purchased tickets will be valid for the new date, though customers will have the option to have their ticket refunded.
Ticket holders will be contacted individually by the theatre regarding refunds, but the Gala warned that the scale of the move will mean this may take some time.
Image: JThomas via Creative Commons