Liverpool news Community rallied to bring theatre back after devastating fire PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Yobs deliberately set fire to the theatre last year causing thousands of pounds worth of damage
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Next week will see the long-awaited return of theatres, cinemas and indoor venues as they reopen after lockdown. For fourteen month actors, musicians and stage crews have not been able to grace our live theatres because of strict social distancing measures. On May 17, theatres and pubs will be among the venues to reopen as we ease our way back into normality. But not all theatres and live venues are quite ready to reopen, yet. The Little Theatre, a beloved community theatre in Birkenhead, will not be opening its doors just yet, but will make a return later this year to lift our spirits again. Based inside of a former Presbyterian church, the Little Theatre was taken over by amateur dramatics group, The Carlton Players, in the early 1950s and has been entertaining generations of people for years. Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what's on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here After facing unprecedented challenges brought on by the pandemic, the theatre suffered a devastating setback in October, 2020, when a deliberate fire saw part of the theatre torched. The inside of the Little Theatre in Birkenhead after the arson (Image: Julie Breckon) Arsonists broke into the popular theatre and started a fire causing thousands of pounds worth of damage. The theatre's prop room was set on fire - meaning they lost countless irreplaceable and sentimental items. Julie Breckon, the theatre's trust chairwoman, said: "I still get emotional thinking about it now. "Everybody poured so much into it and it potentially could have been game over for us. But thankfully we had somebody who got there quickly and everything was contained." Following the fire, a crowdfunder was launched which saw the theatre get huge levels of support. Little Theatre, Birkenhead, after an arson attack (Image: Little Theatre) As well as financial support, Julie said the community were amazing at helping them get back on their feet. She said: "All the building work is finished and the props room is completely refreshed. It's back where it should be. "We've managed to sort a lot of the replacements for the things we have lost.
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. "Birkenhead has a really good community spirit, I think one of its most defining features is its community. We're really appreciative of it. "
The refurbished Little Theatre prop room, in Birkenhead, following a fire in October, 2020
(Image: Julie Breckon)
As well as facing challenges in bringing the prop room back from the ashes, like other communities in the arts, the theatre has faced a year of uncertainty. With some actors unable to claim furlough or self-employment loans from the Government, some entertainers across the country have been waiting for answers throughout both lockdowns. Julie said: "We could have never anticipated how long it was going on for. "It's been difficult for us because our passion is theatre and what we want to be doing is putting on theatre.
The refurbished Little Theatre, in Birkenhead, following a fire in October, 2020
(Image: Julie Breckon)
"It has been quite frustrating not having that definitive timeline in place. We're hoping with the professional theatres being able to reopen, that will give us a roadmap of how we're best to reopen when we're in a position to do that." Unlike larger, professional theatres Julie and the team will not be reopening on Monday. Julie said it's looking as though they will reopen in September and will be putting a smile on people's faces with light-hearted performances, comedies and hopefully a pantomime. Keep up to date with local news in your area by adding your postcode below:
She said: "We're not reopening yet because our in-house is an amateur society, so we've not been able to have any rehearsals or anything because the restrictions have meant we haven't been able to put anything in place. "But we're still hopeful that we're going to be opening in September time. I think for professionals it was different and they were legislated more differently than we were. "But for us, we were very much tied down with the restrictions for the general public." It's hoped the Little Theatre, on Grange Road, will be opening its doors for the audience in September.
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