Newcastle’s iconic Civic Theatre is set to serve up a dose of laughs when it reopens its doors next week.
The 90-year-old theatre will begin welcoming audiences back from Monday 27 July with a staged reopening to allow for small-scale shows and ensure COVID-19 safety measures.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the reopening would help activate the city’s night-time economy in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions.
“COVID-19 has brought Newcastle’s vibrant live performance industry to a standstill, with restrictions and shut-downs proving devastating for the livelihoods of many performing artists,” she said.
“Reopening the Civic Theatre is a positive step in our city’s journey towards recovery, allowing us to support our local performing arts community.”
Audience numbers will be capped to comply with social distancing requirements and manage the flow of patrons through the venue, with an initial limit of 150 people in the Civic Theatre and 50 in the Playhouse.
Later this year it plans to increase the audience capacity to an allowable 500 under the current Public Health Order.
Civic Theatre Manager Leonie Wallace said the performance spaces would be reactivated with an intimate comedy event on Saturday 1 August, which would give audiences a whole new perspective on the venue.
“With restrictions around capacity and social distancing in place, we’ve decided to take the opportunity to show the Civic Theatre in a new light,” she said.
“The audience will enter via the loading dock to enjoy an intimate comedy club experience, being held in conjunction with Big Dog Comedy, with both the performers and audience together on the Civic Theatre stage.
“This will provide a unique ambience to welcome back anyone looking for a night out with a twist.”
Tickets for the show are now on sale, giving Novocastrians their first chance to experience the Civic Theatre’s new in-house ticketing system.
The Civic Theatre box office is now the authorised seller for all tickets to the Civic Theatre, the Playhouse and City Hall Concert Hall.
Tickets are still sold through the Civic Theatre website and the new system provides an enhanced online customer experience with lower transaction.