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BBC Radio 4 PM to follow Nottingham Playhouse over next six months to explore impact of pandemic

The radio show will follow the venue as it grapples with the impact of the pandemic

Nottingham Playhouse
© Drew Baumohl

BBC Radio 4 PM, presented by Evan Davis with reporter Becky Milligan, will follow Nottingham Playhouse over the next six months in a series of episodes exploring the impact of coronavirus.

The series will involve actor and writer Mark Gatiss, whose adaptation of A Christmas Carol is scheduled to run in November when the theatre hopes to reopen. Gatiss spoke to Davis today about the Playhouse and its current circumstances: "Things were getting an awful lot better in terms of the profile of these theatres, just now coronavirus has been a hammer blow to it all."

The venue's winter season will be vital in securing a future for the theatre after the lockdown ends. Chief executive Stephanie Sirr said: "About 75 per cent of our income is earned income and that's completely stopped. We are used to doing big shows that generate 75 per cent capacity and we're nowhere near that with social distancing...Panto in some form will need to happen.

"Our panto is a major part of Nottingham Playhouse. It's been running for more than 30 years, it's massively popular, it's one of the most diverse audiences we attract so we wouldn't give that up lightly and also in terms of revenue it's our second biggest funder after the Arts Council as a single contributor."

Over the coming months, PM will continue to monitor the situation in Nottingham. Davis said: "It's heart-breaking to know that theatres across the land have had to abandon their programmes and go dark during this pandemic. But it is gratifying to know that they are all using their creative flair not just to produce new plays, but to develop plans to keep drama alive and to re-open as soon as possible. We're delighted that the Nottingham Playhouse has agreed to let us follow their journey over the rest of the year."

The show is broadcast every weekday and Saturday on Radio 4 at 5pm.

Today the theatre announced that its production of The Madness of George III will be streamed for free as part of National Theatre at Home.

A Christmas Carol will transfer to Alexandra Palace after its run in Nottingham, where it plays from 27 November to 10 January.