THE bright lights at Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre will shine for the first time since March when staff welcome patrons back to the facility next month.
The theatre will reopen on August 1 with an evening screening of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto On The Lake.
Social distancing measures and strict cleaning methods will also be undertaken, with the facility now being able to host up to 180 patrons.
Theatre manager Frank Morello said it was wonderful to welcome back theatre enthusiasts following four months of working from home.
“It has been a while since the lights have been on in the theatre and staff have been busily getting everything ready for patrons to utilise,” Mr Morello said.
“Overall our primary aim is to ensure the safety of our patrons and staff.
“We have allocated seats to ensure social distancing and provided hand sanitisation stations at each entry point to the theatre as well as going cashless.”
Mr Morello said staff had been busy during the compulsory closure organising paperwork, policies and procedures as well as enhanced cleaning methods.
He said staff had participated in a training session this week to reaffirm the new methods.
“The number of patrons able to take seat in the theatre will depend on how many group bookings there are and how we can space every one out,” Mr Morello said.
“But social distancing will be available with patrons having two seats in between them as well as empty rows in front and behind.”
Mr Morello said staff had faced a number of complications regarding the future of the theatre, notably production availability.
“We rely on productions and productions rely on its members to enjoy the performances,” he said.
“But seeing as though we have been closed for around four months it has been difficult on both parts.
“Restricted audiences makes it difficult to have those productions coming through because they rely on its members to enjoy the performances and it has to be financially viable for them.”
Regardless, Mr Morello said staff were eager to welcome back patrons to the facility.
“Moving forward, now it is just a matter of seeking out those performances that are happy to come back to a regional centre and try and get some sense of normality back,” he said.
“For the remainder of the year we will have digital screenings and going into the future we will just have to see how we progress from there.
“The theatre has been sitting here in the dark for so long which is not what a theatre is supposed to look like, so to have it come back to life will be fantastic.”
The first screening of Rigoletto On The Lake is scheduled to be shown at the theatre on August 1 at 7pm.
Filmed live as part of the United Kingdom’s Cinema Live, the story is an unforgettable tale of sacrifice and revenue of a father’s rage and daughter’s shame.