'The show will go on’, was the determined message from the artistic director of The Everyman theatre Sophie Motley today, following the news that new restrictions are to be imposed on indoor events.
New restrictions coming into effect from December 7 include a maximum of 50% capacity at indoor entertainment, cultural, community, and sporting events, while patrons must all be fully seated and face masks must be worn at all times unless eating or drinking.
Ms Motley said their Christmas panto Aladdin, due to start on Wednesday, will proceed as normal.
“The show will go on," she said. "Everybody who bought a ticket will get to come and see the panto.
"It will be a very safe and controlled environment. There will be a lovely festive atmosphere there. Kids and parents can have the joy of Christmas.
The artistic director said staff at The Everyman have tweaked plans to ensure compliance with all guidelines.
“We were expecting it to an extent so we deliberately did not sell many tickets to the show," she said. "We had already pre-planned that the panto will be a bit shorter and there won't be an interval.
“We will go ahead with everything. We will have exactly the same safety restrictions in place for people both coming to see the panto and the crew members. It is important to get the message out there that people can come,” she said.
The artistic director of the Triskel Arts Centre Tony Sheehan described the latest restrictions as ‘heartbreaking’ but also vowed to keep going.
“We are all heartbroken that we have to go back to operating this way. Triskel’s priority now is to stay open within the new restrictions and to keep going," he said. "We are going to put everything on. We want our customers to come to the concerts and the gigs.
We will continue to provide an experience and setting for people. We want people to enjoy our shows for Christmas,” he said.
Mr Sheehan welcomed the extra €25 million which has been granted to support live entertainment. He has great sympathy for all his colleagues in the sector.
“The restrictions are tough and they will be very tough on our colleagues. The main thing for us is to keep going, keep open and keep doing it. It is easy for me to say that as a publicly funded venue. It is not so easy for other colleagues and other people out there in the private sector. I am glad to see Minister Martin put in €25 million additional funding. They need that big time."