Show hit by pandemic delay prepares for opening night

A sneak peek at Burke and Hare which will be shown at The New Wolsey Theatre from May 6 to May 21.

A sneak peek at Burke and Hare which will be shown at The New Wolsey Theatre from May 6 to May 21. - Credit: Will Green Photography

Bringing more people back to experience live theatre remains top of the New Wolsey's list as its next production hopes to show audiences it is the place to "give up their evenings". 

After two years of navigating restrictions, the team is continuing to adopt a hybrid approach to offer access for all. 

On Friday, Burke and Hare will begin its long-awaited run after falling victim to the pandemic, having been due to be staged in Ipswich during the 2020 season.

A sneak peek at Burke and Hare which will be shown at The New Wolsey Theatre from May 6 to May 21.

A sneak peek at Burke and Hare which will be shown at The New Wolsey Theatre from May 6 to May 21. - Credit: Will Green Photography

Susanna Hornby, head of marketing, said the murder romp is "the highlight of the season" among a packed spring, summer and autumn programme and hopes many will come to see the production.

She said: "People have changed their evening entertainment habits over the past two years and whilst thousands of people have come back to the theatre post-pandemic - we must always assure our audiences that an evening at the theatre is time well invested - right from the moment they walk through the doors the magical live experience begins."

At one time the theatre was only allowed to have 115 people in the auditorium.

With the introduction of a hybrid model to broadcast shows into homes, the theatre saw up to 1,000 screens logging in.

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The journey to provide a high-quality broadcast started with borrowing equipment for The Snow Queen in 2020.

Then the theatre invested Covid recovery fund money and now uses it to enhance its own shows and offers directors a different way to be creative while screenings for those unable, or not comfortable, to go to the theatre. 

The theatre recently won best digital pantomime for Jack and the Beanstalk. 

Pete Hazelwood, technical manager at the New Wolsey, accepting the best digital pantomime award.

Pete Hazelwood, technical manager at the New Wolsey, accepting the best digital pantomime award. - Credit: Ellie Hoskins

Technical manager Pete Hazelwood said: "It was a way of supporting as many directors and allowed people watching from home to have a real professional broadcast standard.

"It is about access for us. The New Wolsey Theatre is still a leading organisation when it comes to access and we are proud to carry that accolade. It allows us to reach people who cannot."

David Phillips, head of production, has been instrumental in overseeing Covid safety measures at the theatre and says this continues even if restrictions are not in place.

"We are flexible, if people want to sit apart. They can have a chat with the front of house team, they can sit a little bit further away from other people. 

"The front of house team are ready for that conversation, you can come in and they can look at the seating plant and can move you further away from larger crowds."

A sneak peek at Burke and Hare which will be shown at The New Wolsey Theatre from May 6 to May 21.

A sneak peek at Burke and Hare which will be shown at The New Wolsey Theatre from May 6 to May 21. - Credit: Will Green Photography

A sneak peek at Burke and Hare which will be shown at The New Wolsey Theatre from May 6 to May 21.

A sneak peek at Burke and Hare which will be shown at The New Wolsey Theatre from May 6 to May 21. - Credit: Will Green Photography

Burke & Hare begins its run at The New Wolsey Theatre on Friday, May 6, through until May 21. 

The three-person cast will play 31 characters between them in Tom Wentworth's black comedy about the infamous pair and their story through 1830s Edinburgh.

Live stream performances are available May 19 to May 21.

The show will be directed by original director Abigal Pickard Price.

Tickets are on sale at www.wolseytheatre.co.uk with British Sign Language, Audio Described and Captioned performances available.