Boss of Cornwall’s Minack Theatre ‘heartbroken’ after Covid restrictions extended

The theatre is positioned on a cliff top above Porthcurno beach.

The boss of a Cornish open air theatre says she feels "heartbroken" after the easing of Covid restrictions was delayed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's delay to the road map out of lockdown, earmarked for 21 June, means theatres will have to continue operating with social distancing and reduced capacities.

Zoe Curnow, who runs the Minack Theatre at Porthcurno, believes the rules ought to be adjusted for open air venues.

'Soul destroying'

"Given in his original road map, he hung a lot of opening up on the basis of letting open air go first, it was actually a bit soul destroying to hear we'd have to wait until indoor theatres could open," she said.

The Minack overlook Porthcurno and the sea.

"We don't want to do anything that is unsafe, but we would ask that the open air theatre sector could considered differently to indoor theatres."

The theatre was visited by the Prime Minister's wife Carrie Johnson and US First Lady Jill Biden during the recent G7 summit.

Ms Curnow said an extended period of social distancing will mean the school show - put on for the two special guests - now cannot be performed in front of the public.

She said: "It's heartbreaking. At the moment, we've had to limit all the participants to two tickets each and that is all the tickets we have got.

"The delay to the roadmap isn't a shock, but will have financial ramifications. It's a loss of income. The extra money we would have gained by not having to distance audiences is between £40,000 and £60,000 a week. So economically, the impact is huge."

Most Covid-19 restrictions in England will remain in place for another four weeks, delaying the planned June 21 unlocking until July 19.

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