City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds set to welcome back audiences for first time since lockdown

The City Varieties Music Hall will reopen on Friday Credit: Leeds Heritage Theatres

The City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds will be welcoming back audiences once again as it reopens its doors on Friday 9 October.

It's the first time the venue has been open since the pandemic forced the doors to close on 17 March, which Leeds Heritage Theatres said led to an immediate loss of 99% in income. 

A £119,900 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund has helped Leeds Heritage Theatres fund reopening costs across both its Grand and City Varieties venues, with funds going towards additional signage, sanitiser stations and PPE.

the venue has been closed since March Credit: Leeds Heritage Theatres

CEO, Chris Blythe, said: "The decision to reopen has not been an easy one, especially in light of the most recent guidance regarding local restrictions, however, we have long had a date in mind for reopening and I am confident that we have the most stringent COVID-safety measures in place to provide a safe and comfortable environment for visitors to enjoy film and staff to work.

"The team and I have discussed at length the implications of reopening; it is well documented that the arts is suffering country-wide, but essentially it comes down to a commitment and duty of care to our visitors, staff and young people involved with our Learning programme.

"As well as trying to return to some normality for business continuity and financial reasons (we are still waiting to hear if we have been successful in our bid for emergency funding from the government), arts and culture is needed now more than ever to help boost people’s mental health and build community through shared experience as we all try to find some escapism from our day-to-day and ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19."

Leeds Heritage Theatres has announced a new film programme in collaboration with sister venue Hyde Park Picture House.

The theatre will host both live and as-live theatre performances alongside independent film screenings as part of the On The Road programme.

Wendy Cook, Head of Cinema, said: "The cinema’s On the Road programme was always envisioned as being a way of taking the Picture Houses’ programme into different spaces so we’re really excited to be working in the City Varieties. After six months away, it’s lovely to be finding our feet again in the comfort of family."