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First stage shows to run at capacity under Events Research Programme announced

The Grange Festival will go ahead at capacity

Northington Grange
© WyrdLight.com, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The first venue to open at full capacity as part of the government's Events Research Programme has been revealed.

From 1 July, the Grange Festival in Hampshire will run performances – and everyone attending must provide proof of a double vaccination (with the second dose administered at least 14 days previously), a negative Lateral Flow Test or natural immunity (established where an individual has contracted Covid and, after recovering, will still have antibodies available).

Michael Chance, the venue's artistic director, said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for The Grange Festival against the context of the multiple challenges which all performance venues have faced for the last 16 months. We realise that we are just a relatively small performing arts venue, but I hope that the evidence gained from our pilot scheme will assist the rapid unlocking of all theatres, and concert halls and cinemas and clubs and related venues across the country.

"We are privileged to have been chosen to be a guinea-pig. We all passionately hope for an open and thriving future for the arts in the UK, celebrated as they are across the world."

Over a week ago, Andrew Lloyd Webber turned down an offer to be part of the pilot scheme, and then, alongside the likes of Sonia Friedman and Cameron Mackintosh, proceeded to sue the government for not revealing data accumulated from past events (some of which has now been released).

Chance continued: "We would like to underline how safe we feel the whole site at The Grange is. All sensible precautions will continue to be in place. We are confident that our new theatre ventilation, our multiple exits from the theatre onto open parkland, and all the measures we have in place to test our staff three times a week ensure a safe environment for all."

Presented in the venue's season include a staging of Shakespeare's King Lear (performed as a play by opera singers), as well as Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and a concert production of My Fair Lady with Nadim Naaman, Peter Polycarpou and more.

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