It's Curtain Up at the Abbey Theatre for new season in St Albans

St Albans Jazz Ensemble will perform at Abbey Theatre in St Albans on September 2.

St Albans Jazz Ensemble will perform at Abbey Theatre in St Albans on September 2. - Credit: Supplied by Abbey Theatre

There's an exciting season ahead at St Albans' Abbey Theatre with music, plays and opera all on the agenda.

Company of Ten members are looking forward to raising the curtain on their new season in September.

As live entertainment venues across the country reopen with fewer restrictions, Abbey Theatre creatives are eager to start their 2021/22 season with a fanfare and welcome audiences back.

The opening event is St Albans Jazz Ensemble on Thursday, September 2.

They will be celebrating their 10th anniversary with a lively mix of swing, blues, jazz and Big Band classics.

The appropriately titled Curtain Up! is the first Company of Ten show of the new season at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

Rehearsals for the appropriately titled Curtain Up!, which is the first Company of Ten show of the new season at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

The first Company of Ten show is the appropriately titled Curtain Up! by Peter Quilter from September 17-25.

This hilarious comedy about five women struggling to revive the fortunes of a dilapidated theatre is the perfect start to the season.

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It’s followed by the hard-hitting drama Five Kinds of Silence in the Abbey Studio from October 8 to October 16.

With strong language and adult content, this play examines the controversial subject of domestic abuse as a mother and her two adult daughters try to come to terms with years of suffering.

Rehearsals from Five Kinds of Silence at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

Rehearsals from Five Kinds of Silence, which can be seen at the Abbey Theatre Studio in St Albans. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

St Albans Chamber Opera presents the first of its two productions this season on October 22 and 23.

G&S Gems features a quartet of regulars presenting some Gilbert and Sullivan favourites in the first half, followed by a staged production of Trial by Jury with a modern twist.

Next up by CoT is Noël Coward’s classic comedy of manners, Private Lives, from November 5 to November 13.

Divorcees Amanda and Elyot discover they are on honeymoon with their new spouses in adjoining suites at the same hotel.

The witty and sophisticated pair find themselves in a volatile situation, with potentially explosive consequences.

St Albans Musical Theatre Company makes its first appearance on the Abbey Theatre stage with a fabulous musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, from November 16-20.

Six awkward teenagers learn that winning isn’t everything as they vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime.

Another music event taking to the Abbey Theatre stage for the first time is The Femmes on November 27. 

This close-harmony trio’s sparkling cocktail of vintage classics and current hits will kick-off the festive season with a fizz of excitement.

And, finally for 2021, the Company of Ten’s delightful family favourite is The Borrowers, a wonderfully warm story of hope, challenge and freedom.

Arietty lives with her parents, Pod and Homily, under the floorboards of a country house until they are discovered by the ‘human beans’.

They set off on a great adventure to find a new home and their long-lost relations.

The play will enchant young and old alike and runs from December 17-28, with a number of matinee performances.

Production executive Karen Thomas said: "We can’t wait to start our varied and exciting season, and there’s plenty more to come next year.

"Open auditions are posted on our website, so if you’d like to get involved, check our Join In page. We’re always happy to welcome new members."


COVID precautions for the new season

The Abbey Theatre will still have in place some COVID measures.

The Abbey Theatre will still have in place some COVID measures and audience members are still encouraged to wear face coverings. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

Even though restrictions have been completely lifted, the Abbey Theatre is aware that many people still feel apprehensive about returning to crowded indoor venues.

Theatre manager Tina Swain said: "Scientific and government advice still recommends that the easiest way for us all to protect others from respiratory infections is to wear a face covering, and the Abbey Theatre will encourage audience members to do this if they are able.

"Enhanced cleaning regimes and hand sanitiser units remain in place. We would also prefer audience members to use our Print@Home e-tickets and card payment for refreshments."

There have been changes to the seating layout to accommodate larger audiences.

Tina explained: "Most performances will be on sale with just one seat between each group, but one performance for each Company of Ten production will offer increased social distancing.

"Wearing a mask or a visor will be a requirement at this performance."

For more information and to book tickets for the theatre's autumn season, visit www.abbeytheatre.org.uk where you will also find more information about the theatre’s COVID secure procedures.


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