Coronavirus: Theatres in Gravesend, Erith, Bromley and Dartford closed

PUBLISHED: 15:50 17 March 2020

The Churchill Theatre is among many across the region to shut up shop.  Picture: Churchill Theatre

The Churchill Theatre is among many across the region to shut up shop. Picture: Churchill Theatre


As Covid-19 continues its grip on the world, the three main theatres in our region are closing their doors.

The Orchard in Dartford is bringing down the curtain as COVID-19 takes hold. Picture: Dartford CouncilThe Orchard in Dartford is bringing down the curtain as COVID-19 takes hold. Picture: Dartford Council

With new government advice to avoid crowds, The Woodville is shutting up shop as is the Churchill Theatre in Bromley.

Backing the current medical thinking in the UK, prime minister Boris Johnson recommends we all stay clear of pubs, clubs and theatres.

Now the main theatre in Gravesend is backing those thoughts and is not staging any more entertainment, for the time being at least.

The Woodville will close from Tuesday, March 17 until at least the end of June due to government advice regarding the prevention of spreading the coronavirus.

Theatre manager Mandy Hare said the decision was made with a heavy heart.

She said: “Following official government advice we have taken the decision to cancel or postpone events at The Woodville and Paul Greengrass Cinema until the end of June.”

And a statement tells customers: “We will contact you regarding shows that have been cancelled and refunds will be issued. If you are attending a future performance, we will be updating our website and social media channels regularly.

“Please do not contact the box office regarding show cancellations, we will contact you as soon as soon as we can. We thank you for your patience at this time. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Woodville very soon.”

The Spotlites Café will also be closed until the theatre is re-opened.

The Churchill Theatre in Bromley and Orchard Theatre in Dartford, are also heeding the warnings as UK deaths reach 55 at the time of writing, and more than 1,500 cases. These are including 11 in Bromley, eight in Bexley, and 12 in Kent.

In a joint statement, the Churchill and Orchard said: “In response to the prime minister’s statement advising that people should avoid non-essential contact with others; all events and shows from Tuesday 17 March 2020 in our venue are suspended.

“We appreciate this will be disappointing news, but hope customers will understand the unprecedented nature of the current circumstances.

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“Ultimately the health and wellbeing of all is the most important consideration at this time.

“We will be posting further statements over the coming days about the status of forthcoming shows.

“Where performances do not proceed we will make contact with customers at the appropriate time to advise on the next steps.

“We would ask all customers to refrain from contacting the box office unless absolutely necessary to do so. Please be assured that we are working as quickly as possible to understand the implications and to put appropriate steps in place.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.”

The Erith Playhouse in Bexley said: “Following government advice issued on 16th March 2020 on coping with the coronavirus (Covid-19), Erith Playhouse has decided that it has become impractical to sustain business as usual at our theatre.

“We are very sympathetic to people’s personal circumstances, as we are to the audiences who are still excited to visit the theatre and see our productions.

“So, it is with great sadness that we have decide to cancel all our performances at the Playhouse Erith for the rest of our season.

“Hopefully, it will be possible to present these shows at a later date.

“All affected customers will be refunded the purchase price of their tickets, but excluding any delivery charges if applicable.”

At the Edward Alderton Theatre, in Bexleyheath, ticket contractor Ticketsource said: “They have only cancelled Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which was due to run between April 4 and 11, everything else is still on sale at this stage.”

Next is Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime due in May.

The Gravesend and District Theatre Guild cancelled its Goodnight Mister Tom shows this month plus put “a hold” on the May and June shows of The Addams Family, saying it was a “difficult but necessary” decision.

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