Despite the new lockdown arrangements and following the recent Arts Council award from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, The Felixstowe Spa Pavilion announced further good news on October 29.
The theatre has now also been successful in obtaining a loan on commercial terms to further boost its response to the virus crisis and plans a range of developments. It is also pressing ahead with the annual pantomime, this year it is Cinderella, despite the latest lockdown. However, the Spa café and restaurants, usually open 7 days a week, and the box office, will now close until 2 December in line with the law.
For the panto, The Spa is doing everything it can to reassure theatregoers that it is safe to support them by buying tickets in advance and it has announced a triple-lock guarantee. All Cinderella ticketholders will be able to exchange their tickets for alternative shows, gift vouchers or a refund without quibble, whether or not the panto goes ahead on the planned dates, to help those who might be isolating to keep others safe. Furthermore, if any or all performances have to be rescheduled the same refund and exchange rights as above will apply. Thirdly, if any performances are affected by the virus, all ticketholders for each affected performance will be able to opt to keep their tickets and see the panto on an alternative date AND receive an exclusive link to see a live stream of the show, currently planned for New Year’s Day, which can alternatively be downloaded for later viewing. A souvenir DVD is also planned, for those unable to use streaming or download services.
The new loan will be used to install air conditioning and heating to enable the theatre to offer greater comfort to theatregoers, as well as for visitors to its café and restaurants which are (normally) open seven days a week. The theatre is also to apply for planning permission to build a balcony on the front of the building and create a larger ground floor ‘Terrace’ café capable of being used as a function room and smaller performance space.
These are challenging but exciting times for us. The certainty which the Covid recovery funding has brought us has also enabled us to obtain further loans that we can use to improve the strength of the underlying business and we’re also working hard to ensure that our audience feels safe to return. Importantly, the works that we plan will both improve our ability to trade during the crisis as well as reduce our overheads, providing a rare win-win outcome that we desperately needed.Ray Anderson, Director
Expressing obvious relief, Mr Anderson added that: “At this time, we would also like to put on record our gratitude to the vast majority of our customers who have accepted tickets for new show dates, sometimes more than once, vouchers or alternative shows, as well as those who have joined our Friend of The Spa scheme. This has enabled us to plan to re-open and put shows on during the crisis. Without a good level of sales for each show, the performers would not come to Felixstowe, so we’re grateful to all of our customers for helping us to bring the theatre back to life in these most unusual of times. We have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to put ourselves in this position of strength to survive the crisis and ensure that we can honour all of our obligations to both ticketholders and performers. The new lockdown delays our plans slightly but we are still full steam ahead to re-open in December with a brilliant season of covid-compliant shows.”
With Strictly fever rising now the 2020 series has started, there are three dates in the Spa’s spring programme you may be particularly keen to book, with the first being the brilliant Kevin & Joanne Clifton, which had to be moved to Friday 19th February due to the latest lockdown.
This is followed by the spectacular return of Giovanni Pernice with his incredible show This Is Me, after the tour was cut short in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pernice has become a firm fan favourite, having been a professional dancer on the hit BBC TV show since 2015 and has reached the final three times, with Georgia May Foote, Debbie McGee and Faye Tozer respectively. Will 2020 be the year Giovanni wins the coveted glitterball? He certainly hopes so!
Giovanni will appear at Felixstowe Spa on Thursday 25 March at 7.30pm.
But that’s not all from the Strictly boys. Strictly Come Dancing’s old-school professionals Ian Waite and Vincent Simone left fans intrigued when they announced their unlikely partnership last year, but after the roaring success of their first tour together in 2019, the five-star rated The Ballroom Boys, they are back with Act Two.
Act Two will follow on from Waite and Simone’s first offering as a dancing duo, with more old-fashioned variety – dance, comedy and song! Having both been part of the hit BBC show for several years, with their partners including Zoe Ball, Penny Lancaster, Rachel Stevens and Louisa Lytton, they are still very much involved. Ian is a regular on It Takes Two with his ‘Waite’s Warm-Up’ section and Vincent choreographs the Argentine Tango routines that are seen on the main show.
The fabulous Strictly Come Dancing stars promise another wonderful evening, with beautiful costumes, gorgeous lighting and world-class routines. If you enjoyed The Ballroom Boys, then make sure you don’t miss the hilarious dancing duo when they bring Act Two to Felixstowe Spa Pavilion on Friday 23 April at 8pm
Tickets for all shows are available online with selectable seats and automatic social distancing to protect you at www.fxspa.co.uk
To see what else you can look forward to this spring go to: www.fxspa.co.uk