Goonellabah's Rochdale Theatre recently lit up to celebrate Light Unite Australia. Lismore Theatre Company has been forced to cancel all scheduled shows and close the theatre due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Goonellabah's Rochdale Theatre recently lit up to celebrate Light Unite Australia. Lismore Theatre Company has been forced to cancel all scheduled shows and close the theatre due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Lights are out, then on again, for popular theatre

THE arts industry has been among one of the most affected by the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of artists and creatives out of work.

However there was a bright spark of hope among the gloom last week when theatres across the country lit up to support one another.

Lismore Theatre Company’s Rochdale Theatre joined many leading arts facilities around the nation as part of the Light Unite Australia celebration held on April 15.

Lismore Theatre Company’s technician, Luke Kane, said participating in the event was a “great way to bring a little colour to keep our spirits up during this period as almost everybody in the entertainment industry is currently unemployed”.

President Sharon Brodie welcomed the opportunity for the Goonellabah theatre to light up despite not having a show on stage.

“It is difficult for creative, community-minded people to just stay home, but in the end, our committee was proactive in postponing our scheduled shows to protect our audiences,” she said.

“I believe that our community has appreciated what we have done and will be eager to support the theatre when we reopen.

“Meanwhile, we could light up our exterior on April 15 to remind the community and the government that we are still here.”

The company’s latest production Educating Rita was set to open on March 20 for three weekends, followed by the pantomime Puss in Thongs, which had beenscheduled for six performances in late April.

The company’s artistic director and Educating Rita producer, Kylie Fuad, said having to shut down the theatre was difficult to process.

“Although it has been a huge setback for our 50th year at the Rochdale, we will celebrate with Educating Rita as the first show of our 2020 season, whenever it starts,” she said.

“Our volunteers are a resilient bunch and will be back stronger than ever and we will be keen to welcome more people to be part of our theatre.”

During the theatre’s closure, the company is posting photos of past shows on its Facebook page, as well as providing links to the many free online productions streaming from theatre companies around the world.



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