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Theatre Chat Live: Iris Theatre’s new summer season & a Theatreland update

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 16 June 2021, Last Updated 21 June 2021

In this week’s Theatre Chat Live, Jess spoke to Paul-Ryan Carberry, Artistic Director at Iris Theatre about their exciting new summer season as well as getting a Theatreland update from Emma De Souza, Head of Marketing and Communications at The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) following the latest Government announcement.

Iris Theatre is based in the world-famous St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden, known by many as the Actor’s Church. Having started in Salford as an actor and later moving onto directing, Jess talks to Paul-Ryan all about his journey into theatre,  stepping into his role at Iris Theatre from 2019 and navigating theatre in the pandemic.

Paul-Ryan highlights all the amazing things that make Iris Theatre unique including it’s incredible location, residing before the street performers and The Apple Market in the heart of Covent Garden. The theatre prides itself on forging opportunities for theatre artists at the very beginning of their career, in a space that embodies London theatre.

He also shares the exciting plans for Iris Theatre’s Summer Festival running from 21 June – 22 August, offering a platform for a generation of new voices and theatre companies. From new musicals and plays to brilliant one-off events, the festival closes with Iris Theatre’s reimagining of Arthur/Merlin, one of the greatest adventures ever told.

Our second guest of the evening is Emma De Souza, Head of Marketing and Communications at The Society Of London Theatre, the not-for-profit organisation which runs Official London Theatre. With the Government announcing a delay to Roadmap Stage 4, Emma explains that several shows have been impacted as they were planning to open to a full capacity audience. However, there are many shows who are still playing with a socially distanced audience and booking tickets to see these shows is a brilliant way to support the West End.

Emma explains that producers and venues have introduced countless measures to ensure the safety of audience members including; contactless tickets, temperature checks, face masks, staggered arrival times, distance between you and your social bubble, drinks delivered to your seats, a structured staggered exit to minimise cross-over. Front-of-house staff are also there to ensure everyone feels safe and that audience members abide by the rules.

Emma explains that booking tickets to see your favourite West End shows as they open or grabbing last-minute on-the-day-TKTS  at special prices, is a huge help to our industry and to the shows, especially in a time when producers are taking huge financial risks. Our #BackOnStage campaign has seen a hugely positive response from theatre fans returning to see shows and we encourage everyone to return and enjoy the magic and escapism of theatre at a time when it’s so needed. You can check out what people have been saying here.

Check out what West End shows are playing here and watch the full Theatre Chat Live episode below!

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