Posted: 09.10.21 at 14:15 by Tim Lethaby
A local theatre has announced a new programme of film and events for the autumn and Christmas season, as manager since 2019, Robin Peters, departs and former boss Farès K Moussa returns on an interim basis.
With Strode Theatre in Street having been partially re-opened since July, a new fuller programme opens with a run of the new James Bond film No Time to Die, which had been delayed from release for nearly two years since the start of the Covid pandemic.
The theatre had closed its doors in March 2020, as a result of the Covid pandemic, which led also to its staff being made redundant and being furloughed.
Strode Theatre, which is part of Strode College, is a commercial theatre, but currently relies on significant revenue support from the college and Street Parish Council, and capital funding from the Friends of Strode Theatre.
Robin, whose last day at the theatre was on October 1, said: "We have been extremely fortunate to receive support from the Culture Recovery Fund.
"This grant programme has helped arts organisations across the country survive the pandemic and start to rebuild.
"The shifting sands of the pandemic have meant that much of this work is still ongoing, with funds safely ring-fenced for the purpose - please be bold in choosing what to see this season and, if you can, help us spread the word that the theatre is back, and has some perhaps unexpected treats for everyone.
“My fiancée and I will put our last few non-portable possessions into storage, and set off overland to Greece, where we’ve taken responsibility for an olive grove on the island of Ithaca.
"I leave management of the theatre in the safest hands. Farès Moussa will return, on an interim basis, to manage at least the autumn programme and the theatre’s ongoing recovery from the pandemic.
"Thank you for your support of Strode Theatre through the most turbulent of times, and of me personally and the change that I have begun to work here.”
Farès, who was theatre manager from March 2017 to September 2019, and has been working mainly freelance in arts and heritage management ever-since, has returned on an interim basis to secure the new programme and bring the theatre back into full operation through a recovery period.
He said: “I have a strong affection for the Strode Theatre, so I’m delighted to be able to help steer it, hopefully, back into full-time operation.
"It’s important we bring the theatre back into action in a way that our audiences can feel confident to come and watch films, shows, concerts and live broadcasts.
"That’s why we have launched this season in ‘Safe-Mode’. The message is that we are open, and we are safe.
“The economics behind a theatre such as this are very fragile indeed - many simply don’t survive.
"But with help from the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, Strode College and Street Parish Council’s commitment to continue supporting the theatre, together with the dedication of the theatre’s staff, and ongoing patronage from its audiences from all around the county, I believe that Strode Theatre will be here for many years to come.
“Robin has an utterly idyllic sounding opportunity to try a new life on an olive farm on a Greek island - who can blame him?
"I think most of us would do the same thing, given such an opportunity. We all wish him and his fiancé all the very best - and I certainly intend to visit before too long."
Farès, who produced the newly published season’s brochure and plans to publish a further programme soon for the new year, shares management of the theatre with his former Royal Opera House colleague, Andrew Lunt, through this post-Covid recovery period, until further notice.
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