Theatre News

Rent musical revival at Hope Mill Theatre to go ahead next month with socially distanced audiences

The show’s cast will be in a bubble for the duration of the run

(© Feast Creative)

The upcoming Hope Mill Theatre revival of Rent has confirmed it will go ahead as planned with social distancing measures in place from next month.

Cutting the Manchester venue's capacity, producers will allow audiences to sit safely and watch the show from 30 October to 6 December. One-way systems, transparent screens, hand sanitisation, extra toilets, staggered arrival times and temperature checks will all be in place.

The 12-strong cast (which is to be announced shortly) will be forming a ‘bubble' for the duration of the show's run in Manchester and receive regular testing. Audiences will be asked to wear face coverings during the show or visors for those who are exempt.

William Whelton, executive director of Hope Mill Theatre, said: "The past few months have been a whirlwind of highs and lows for our venue. We have worked so hard to make Rent possible along with the support of the wider creative team, the cast and our own venue staff.

"We stated previously that we would not proceed with the production if we couldn't do it in a safe and secure way for everyone involved including our audiences. After a lot of investment in equipment and working alongside a health and safety officer we are more than confident that we can deliver not only an incredible production but one that is covid-secure and enjoyable for everyone involved.

"We want nothing more than to have our doors open once more and welcome back our loyal and supportive audiences, as well as supporting the industry that we love so much at a time that they need us the most. After all we must Measure in Love."

The seating set-up
The seating set-up

The piece will be directed by Luke Sheppard (& Juliet) with choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves, with musical direction by Katy Richardson, set and costume design by David Woodhead, LX design by Howard Hudson, sound design by Paul Gatehouse and casting by Pearson Casting.

Based on Puccini's La Bohème, Rent follows a group of impoverished young artists who live in New York under the shadow of HIV/AIDs. After first premiering in 1996, the show first ran in the UK in 1998, with a film released in 2005. It has music, lyrics, and book by Jonathan Larson, with numbers including "La Vie Boheme", "Without You" and "Seasons of Love".

All customers who have already booked for Rent have been contacted regarding their bookings with new information on any changes.

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