2020 projects and 2021 reopening


We are getting ready to welcome you back in 2021 and, when restrictions allow, we shall reopen with Alan Bennett’s glorious version of The Wind in the Willows.  Never have we had so much time to prepare a production for you.  We have glorious sets, we have fantastic costumes, we have a gypsy caravan, a barge, a boat, and a car with an engine which moves!!  We have music and a delicious script. How can you resist?

When we shut down two productions on 16th March 2020, we never quite expected how long the theatre would be in darkness.  It all felt very close to home when we lost one of our leading actors and directors, Martin Cosgrif, to this most dreadful virus.   We were heartbroken.

After the first period of lockdown, we started to talk about how we could continue and a plan began to take shape. We embarked on a huge project, kickstarted from a practical need.  Although we own our own building, we also rent from the Council a rather dilapidated building at the rear of the theatre for storage of props, furniture and costume, that won’t fit into our theatre space.  The Council are redeveloping the whole Spencer Yard area at the rear of the theatre and we were served notice.  Struggling to find suitable premises and concerned about rental cost, we decided to try to decant the contents of this rented building into the theatre. The only way to do this was to have the spring clean of all spring cleans.  Mountains of costumes, props and furniture have been discarded to make space. We found hidden treasures and hidden horrors  A mezzanine has been built over our workshop, which had to be emptied entirely for the new floor to be installed.  We have a shiny new props store, new wardrobe facilities and a new start. We seem to have been covered in cobwebs and spiders for months now!

As I write, we have achieved two thirds of the project; we have also redecorated everywhere backstage with new signage. We have upgraded our lighting, which was a huge task, undertaken by the talent of our own technical team.  We were generously offered valuable time from arts professionals who were not exactly busy and our scenic artists have created a quite stunning mural at the rear of the theatre and been busy on the set.

So many of you played your own part too.  Our audience clearly missed us and we were overwhelmed by those of you who generously gifted the price of prebooked tickets, or made donations after listening to the audio recordings we put on line.  We also received quite wonderful donations from those of you who just love the Loft and want it to continue; to stand a chance of celebrating our centenary in 2022. You have all done a wonderful thing and made a valuable contribution to the arts. We have no funding as you know.  We survive entirely on our enterprise and our box office income and we are the only independent live theatre company in Leamington. We have made a thumping financial loss this year.

We shall emerge from this shutdown far stronger than we went into it and the work we have undertaken would never have been possible if we had been running a busy performance schedule.  There are often silver linings when least expected.  .

We tried our best to reopen in 2020. We started rehearsals and closed them down twice due to lockdowns, but we have decided that just as soon as we are permitted to reopen, it will be with this glorious version of The Wind in the Willows. A full length play with a full cast and crew. This is not for the fainthearted, but the courage, talent and care with which the director Robert Lowe and the entire team surrounding him have faced this is absolutely characterised throughout the history of this theatre company.

The same dedication has gone into ensuring that we offer to our company and our audience a safe venue, moving beyond what the government guidelines have required of us. We have now been certified as a Covid Secure Venue by The Society of London Theatres and UK Theatre, so you can visit us with confidence.

We are ready, we are eager and we are excited.  The creative arts needs a huge hug right now as do we as humans.

We have missed you and each other and we look forward to giving you a warm welcome to a joyous family friendly and entirely socially distanced production; hearing laughter filling the auditorium will be the best possible reward and the best expression of the love of theatre in our lives.