Lockdown Endgame is in sight - Abbey Theatre prepares for return of live performances

Endgame by Samuel Beckett is due to run at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans from May 18 to May 22.

Endgame by Samuel Beckett is due to run at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans from May 18 to May 22. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

Creatives at a St Albans theatre are preparing for the return of live performances.

Company of Ten members have been waiting in the metaphorical wings to reopen the Abbey Theatre as soon as government regulations allow.

As live entertainment venues across the country make plans to return to the stage, at Step 3 of the roadmap from May 17, the Abbey Theatre eagerly awaits the green light for its 2021 programme.

"The current government roadmap states that theatres can reopen their doors to live audiences from May 17," said production executive Karen Thomas, "so we’re opening the first show of our summer season on May 18. Did I mention we were impatient?"

Two productions were already in rehearsal when the most recent lockdown began, so actors and technical teams are champing at the bit to bring live theatre back to St Albans.

Abbey Theatre

Endgame will open the Abbey Theatre summer season in St Albans from May 18. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

"Our first production, Endgame by Samuel Beckett, runs from May 18-22," said Karen.

"We were just a couple of weeks away from its first performance in January and the cast have continued to rehearse by Zoom.

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"They are more than ready to bring this very relevant play to an audience."

Thanks to Beckett’s agent, the Company of Ten has permission to present a hybrid production, with socially distanced in-theatre audiences alongside simultaneous live-streaming.

"If the date is delayed for the public to return, we can continue with live performances streamed to our audiences at home," said Karen.

The Abbey Theatre is preparing for the return of live performances after lockdown ends.

The Abbey Theatre is preparing for the return of live performances after lockdown ends with Endgame due to open the summer season on May 18. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

The summer season continues with Jim Cartwright’s Two from June 1-5 and Skylight by David Hare from June 22-26.

The final production is St Albans Youth Music Theatre’s show, Snoopy The Musical, from July 8-10.

All these will be hybrid productions to ensure that everyone is able to share the joy of live theatre, even if they are unable to attend in person.

CoT Youth coordinator Suzanna Cheek said: "We were determined not to cancel our youth musical for the second year in a row.  

"The cast and production team have worked so hard to meet the challenges of learning songs, choreography and moves online since last September and it would have been devastating if it couldn’t go ahead. We can’t wait to return to rehearsals in the theatre."

There are also plans in the pipeline for a gala screening of the Company of Teens’ film entry in this year’s National Theatre Connections.

To book tickets for these productions, visit www.abbeytheatre.org.uk where you will also find more information about the theatre’s COVID-Secure procedures.

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