Liverpool theatre producer Bill Elms has created the 9 day outdoor live event, Liverpool Theatre Festival, to support the city’s devastated theatre scene in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Liverpool Theatre Festival will take place between Friday 11 September and Saturday 19 September and is being staged in association with the team behind St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.
The event will take place within the church walls, in the grounds of St Luke’sin the heart of Liverpool city centre and will follow stringent social distancing and Government guidelines.
Tickets for Liverpool Theatre Festival are on sale now, with prices starting from just £10.
Live performances came to a complete standstill nationally in mid-March due to Covid-19 lockdown. This has had a devastating impact on all careers linked to live performance – from performers and technicians, to venues and suppliers. Strict social distancing guidelines continue to prove extremely difficult for organisers and venues.
With no indication on when safe and financially viable indoor performances will resume, Bill has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to organise the festival now outdoor live performances are permitted.
The festival line-up includes musical theatre, drama, comedy, cabaret, monologues, and children’s shows.
Festivalgoers can be reassured they will be attending a safe environment. Capacity has been reduced to ensure socially distanced seating; hand sanitiser stations; temperature checks before entry; masks will be compulsory when moving round the venue; and visitors are encouraged to attend in their social bubble groups.
Increased safety guidelines will also take place behind the scenes. Shows will be limited to one-act performances; each show lasts a maximum of 75 mins to reduce audience movement; the cast and crew will socially distance and be temperature checked; and a maximum of four performers per production. Further safety measures will be announced in the coming weeks.
Producer and artistic director Bill Elms explained: “Like many colleagues in our industry, work came to a complete standstill in mid-March and it has been a complete shock to the system and tough at times. But after working in the industry for 30 years, I could not just sit back and watch everything disintegrate before our very eyes. I had to do something and after a lot of research, ringing round and planning, Liverpool Theatre Festival was born.
“We need to pull together and support our talented artists and incredible production companies through this difficult time, and hopefully something positive can come out of these dreadful times, I would love to see the festival grow to become an annual event. St Luke’s is the perfect backdrop for the inaugural Liverpool Theatre Festival. This is about providing theatre lovers with a platform to come out, enjoy and experience live entertainment once again, in a safe environment. This is the first step on a long road to returning to indoor theatre and safety for customers, cast and crew is paramount. We worked hard to keep ticket prices affordable without compromising on quality.”
The team at St Luke’s have been successfully running a covid-safe garden café/bar on site for a few the last months and they will provide theatregoers with premium drinks and freshly cooked pizza, drinks can also be purchased on a special app and delivered to ticketholders at their seats.
Kate Jones from St Luke’s Bombed Out Church added: “St Luke’s Bombed Out Church is dedicated to support the local arts scene. Our team has been working hard to produce a Covid-19 safe environment for local theatre and other cultural events along with our now established garden bar. We are thrilled to welcome back a Bill Elms production to our wonderful iconic building, and we’re delighted to host the very first Liverpool Theatre Festival.”
Liverpool Theatre Festival will include live productions of Swan Song by Jonathan Harvey, A Fairy Tale Journey Across The Mersey, Laughterhouse Comedy, The Best Of Tommy Cooper, Sweet Mother, Shakers by John Godber, Deathly Confessions, Matinee Musical Classics, Music Of The Night, Judy & Liza, Hurrah For The Pirate King! and Something About Simon.
Bill Elms continued: “Liverpool really is a wonderful pool of talent. A lot of thought has gone into programming the festival and I have quickly secured a wonderful line-up of Liverpool performers and productions, who are eager to see the return of live entertainment. We cannot wait to open the festival on 11 September. The performers are already counting down the days until they can get back on a stage in front of a live audience.”
Tickets for Liverpool Theatre Festival are available from Ticket Quarter. Check the website and social media for updates. https://www.ticketquarter.co.uk/online/liverpool-theatre-festival-2020