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Live theatre returning to popular venue for first time in seven months

PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:32 06 October 2020

Operations manager Lee Johnson is looking forward to the return of live theatre at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sonya Duncan/Courtesy of Lee Johnson

Operations manager Lee Johnson is looking forward to the return of live theatre at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sonya Duncan/Courtesy of Lee Johnson

Sonya Duncan/Courtesy of Lee Johnson

Live theatre is finally returning to a popular venue which was left struggling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Live theatre is set to return to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Diss Corn HallLive theatre is set to return to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Diss Corn Hall

Diss Corn Hall will host one-woman show ‘Power’ on Thursday, October 8, the first time the theatre has featured a stage performance for seven months.

In line with government regulations, the Corn Hall was forced to shut in March as lockdown swept the nation.

With its reliance on box office sales, the entertainment venue’s survival looked in doubt until widespread public funding for the industry was eventually announced in July.

In August the Corn Hall held an outdoor show and has been hosting sporadic events at its St Nicholas Street home including live talks and film screenings.

Operations manager Lee Johnson is looking forward to the return of live theatre at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Courtesy of Lee JohnsonOperations manager Lee Johnson is looking forward to the return of live theatre at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Courtesy of Lee Johnson

Ahead of welcoming back theatre-goers, operations manager Lee Johnson said: “Getting shows back on and people back in is so important because it keeps the building alive.

“With social distancing the maximum we can hold is 89 and, if you are worried about Covid, that is quite a lot of people to be mixing with.

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“What has been great is people saying they feel really comfortable coming into the building, and they can see the amount of work we’ve done to be Covid-compliant.

Charmaine Childs is bringing her one-woman show, Power, to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sean LongmoreCharmaine Childs is bringing her one-woman show, Power, to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sean Longmore

“But nobody has said they are uncomfortable or unhappy, and that is great for our volunteers to hear.”

Power is the brainchild of Charmaine Childs, who has almost 20 years of performing experience behind her as a circus strong lady.

Using circus physicality and verbal storytelling, the 41-year-old’s show premiered in Huddersfield last week - almost six months later than scheduled.

Ms Childs, who worked on Power with Diss director, Emma Barnard, said: “This is the longest I haven’t performed since my early-20s and it is such a relief to finally be getting in front of an audience again.

Charmaine Childs is bringing her one-woman show, Power, to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Andy DelaneyCharmaine Childs is bringing her one-woman show, Power, to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Andy Delaney

“Before this, I didn’t realise quite how much my sense of being in the world was about connecting with strangers.

“The concept of Power is how we can feel powerful, even in an uncertain world. A lot of people didn’t realise how much uncertainty bothered them, but it has been made so much clearer over the past few months.

“I’m so happy to be doing the show now because I feel like it is doing an important job.”


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