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RSC and Nottingham Playhouse to present shows online as tier three rules close venues to audiences

The two English venues have responded to new lockdown rules

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre
© RSC, photo by Sara Beaumont

Two venues in "tier three" lockdown locations have responded to the new lockdown rules and highlighted their online and streamed shows coming in December.

Under the new rules, a large portion of theatres will be permitted to reopen with social distancing measures and capacity caps, but other parts of England will be forced to remain closed from 2 December until at least 17 December.

You can find out more about which tiers different parts of the country have been placed into here.

The Royal Shakespeare Company, in the tier three Warwickshire is one of the venues affected by new tier three rules: RSC executive director Catherine Mallyon and Gregory Doran, RSC artistic director said today: "We are deeply disappointed by the news that Stratford-upon-Avon and the rest of Warwickshire has moved to tier three Covid restrictions. This means that whilst we will continue with our plans to stream online our Tales for Winter events as planned, we have made the decision now to move to streamed only events for Festive Tales on the 19 and 20 December, when we had hoped to welcome audiences back into the theatre for the first time since March. All tickets for the in-person events had been sold, and Our Box Office team will now contact those people to transfer to a streaming ticket alongside a partial refund, a full refund, or opportunity to donate.

"We are desperately disappointed with the news as we know audiences want to come and be welcomed back into the theatre. We have worked hard over many weeks to put strong safety measures in place ready for that moment, and we look forward optimistically to 2021 when we will reopen our theatres. Meanwhile, we look forward to sharing our Tales for Winter season online.

"The announcement today means further difficulties and hardship to theatres and freelance colleagues around the country on top of those already faced over the last eight months. Once again we want to give enormous thanks to all of our supporters, audiences and colleagues throughout this period."

Find out more about the RSC's season plans here.

Elsewhere, Nottingham Playhouse has also been placed into tier three and will not be able to mount festive shows in front of audiences.

However – that doesn't mean Christmas is at all cancelled. Stephanie Sirr, chief executive, said today: "We are disappointed to confirm that Nottingham Playhouse will remain closed to the public due to tier three restrictions. This means that that live performances of our pantomime, Cinderella, and our family show, Jack and the Beanstalk, will now start no sooner than Wednesday 16 December. We are working hard to contact all ticket holders affected.

"However, we are delighted that our On Demand performances are being made available from mid-December and our Cinderella Online Christmas Eve Special will also go ahead as planned. We will be here with two fantastic productions to spread Christmas cheer and theatre magic far and wide, whilst protecting the safety of our audiences. We will continue to monitor and implement the latest Government guidance, and keep everyone informed."