Hands up if you’ve ever experienced a year like this before?
We must presume the entire amateur theatre sector is firmly sitting on its hands right now. Monday, 16th March seems an awfully long time ago now doesn’t it. That was the day our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, advised “everyone in the UK against ‘non-essential’ travel and contact with others as well as to work from home if possible and avoid visiting social venues such as pubs, clubs or theatres. The rest, as they say, is history.
Unfortunately, five months later, nearly every theatre in the country is still closed. A few of you are bravely mounting outdoor productions and one or two professional companies are taking part in the Government’s pilot scheme to see if social distancing works when applied to indoor venues. However, since Andrew Lloyd Webber’s London Palladium test on Saturday, 25th July, which featured the talents of Beverley Knight singing to 25% of the theatre’s capacity (all wearing facemasks throughout and not allowed to sing along), where the Good Lord himself said to the audience, “I have to say this is a rather sad sight,” the results are academic.
Sardines hasn’t printed an issue since no.48 (April/May) which, by the way may become something of a collector’s item and has now completely sold out! Therefore, we would like to welcome you to this special ‘lockdown’ edition to see us through to the end of November. Despite us sending out a new weekly ‘lockdown update’ newsletter every Friday (we’re already on no.20! – sign up at www.sardinesmagazine.co.uk) the simple truth is we’ve been collecting and receiving too many articles and interviews NOT to do anything with them.
This issue is published online only and coincides with the launch of our brand-new website. So, if you’re reading this then you must have digital access. You can comfortably read every article and feature on a PC, tablet or mobile phone. Your digital access even gives you the ability to download, not only a PDF of this issue, but every single edition we have ever published.
The plan, at the moment, is to get back to our print edition for the Dec/Jan slot. However, if the reopening of theatres hasn’t progressed much further than the current stalemate – and it already looks like we’ve lost December’s pantomime season (turn to page 64) – the festive issue may also need to be online only. Watch this space! (as they say.)
Paul & Fariba, Sardines’ Editors