If there was any opening night nerves when the curtain lifted to the first full capacity show at the Everyman Theatre in over 16 months, they were well hidden – with cast members, staff and generations of theatregoers all bubbling with excitement at this milestone for the arts.
Following government guidelines throughout the pandemic, the Cheltenham theatre finally opened its historic venue on Regent Street to full capacity crowds, the day after ‘Freedom Day’ on Tuesday 20 July 2021.
SoGlos joined the first full audience for a high energy and hilariously farcical performance of The Play That Goes Wrong, which proved just the comedic antidote to lift post-lockdown spirits – with the actors visibly thrilled to have the chance to share their craft with the audience sizes their polished professionalism deserves.
We were equally delighted to share the liberating experience with so many familiar faces – albeit ones mostly peeping out from behind face masks. And whether you’re nervously re-entering society or are overjoyed to be going out again, with respect for everyone’s comfort, the Everyman Theatre is encouraging everyone to wear masks in its auditorium, bars and foyer – with a choice of whether you keep yours on in your seats.
The atmosphere on opening night was one of extreme excitement exercised cautiously. And while it was tempting to hug old friends and clink glasses, it was nice to see that common sense and courtesy for everybody around really prevailed – with well organised staff, clear guidance, extra safety precautions and extended entry times all helping make Everyman Theatregoers feel at ease, as we start to acclimatise.
With British theatre finally fully reopening, we can all now play our part in keeping them open – with buying tickets a highly enjoyable way to support venues like the Everyman Theatre at a time when it is needed more than ever. Roll on the new season…
For more information, visit everymantheatre.org.uk.
By Michelle Fyrne
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