Hull Truck Theatre postpones The Railway Children Christmas show

Hull Truck Theatre's planned main Christmas show The Railway Children has been cancelled. The Ferensway theatre has regretfully put back the production to Christmas 2021, saying it would not be economically viable to run it this coming festive season. But theatre bosses say there will still be an alternative Christmas show to entertain families in small, socially-distanced groups, as they announce the venue's reopening this autumn.

Hull Jazz Festival, which opens on Thursday, November 12, will launch Hull Truck's autumn season after eight months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will sound the beginning of a different kind of experience for audiences as places of entertainment start to emerge from lockdown.

Janthi Mills-Ward and Mark Babych, joint chief executives at Hull Truck Theatre

A spokesman for Hull Truck said: "The Hull Jazz Festival is a key part of our autumn season and we are really pleased that, after eight months of closure, we are able to work with long-term partners J Night to open the building with their exciting programme.  "However, we have also had to make the difficult decision to postpone our 2020 Christmas production of The Railway Children.

"The creation of one of our Christmas shows usually begins in August but without an announced date from the Government on when theatre performances can resume without social distancing, a show of this scale would not be economically viable.

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"The Railway Children will be postponed until Christmas 2021 and all tickets will be automatically transferred into the equivalent date, time and original seat selection. "We will be contacting all customers with details of their ticket transfer and, with our reduced team, ask that customers do not contact the Box Office at this time." While the auditorium will not be able to stage a show on the scale of The Railway Children, Hull Truck said it remained committed to creating magical Christmas experiences for its audiences and will be producing an alternative show for 2020, Prince Charming's Christmas Cracker.

Hull Truck Theatre postpones The Railway Children Christmas showHull Truck was due to put on The Railway Children

"This new promenade production will enable audiences to enjoy a festive adventure within small groups and under social distancing measures," the spokesman said.

Hull Jazz Festival will run with smaller audiences "but the programme and experience will still be the same great quality", said the spokesman. Announcements regarding the theatre's January-March 2021 season are expected to be made later in the autumn once the theatre has clear information on social distancing guidelines and the ability to stage productions.

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Mark Babych and Janthi Mills-Ward, joint chief executives at Hull Truck Theatre, said: "We are very excited to have a reopening date to bring alive our wonderful theatre again. "We will obviously be operating at a much-reduced capacity of 20 to 30 per cent while social distancing is in place, which makes re-opening a difficult financial jigsaw of what and how we present work, but with meticulous planning to ensure the theatre is a safe place and innovative ideas for a programme that is possible with social distancing, we look forward to sharing the joy of live theatre again.

"Part of this will be doing Christmas differently this year - which presents lots of creative challenges for the Hull Truck team to work on together, as well as opportunities for freelance artists.

"Our vision is to create a joyful, fun and uplifting production that takes audiences on an exciting journey through the theatre and we are sure this show is going to be just what we all need to get us in the Christmas spirit after a difficult year."

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