If you are like me, March 2020 seems a lifetime ago.
Back then, Seymour was on a high. We'd just completed a non-stop program of wild and diverse performance as the Mardi Gras Festival Hub, thousands of high school students had experienced Sport for Jove's fine production of The Crucible, and a new production of Hedda Gabler was just around the corner.
And then, on 13 March, well ... we all know.
It has been a time unlike any other I can remember or relate to. As the weeks went by, performances we couldn't wait to bring you, fell like a deck of cards. No one would get to see the ingenuity of Wake in Fright, or experience the next brilliant show from Outhouse, or be able to grab a ticket to Prima Facie because you missed it the first time around, or be captivated by the premiere seasons of The Pass, Preludes and Usual Girls.
And this was just the beginning. No more Sydney Writers' Festival, no more Potted Potter from the UK, or NSW State Dance Festival—the list goes on.
Throughout this time, we tracked the ebb and flow of this virus while doing all we could to distance, to isolate, to remain solo. This is, of course, the absolute antithesis of the theatre: a place where we all come together to experience something special in close quarters with friends and with people we don't know.
In March we would never have anticipated this state would last until September. But we're so pleased to finally be at a point where, while the crisis is far from over, it has improved enough for us to say a cautious and suitably COVID-safe, welcome back!
Thank you to all our patrons who stuck with us as we constantly reassessed, rescheduled and then, reluctantly, cancelled your events. Many of you chose to donate your ticket purchase back to the Seymour or take a gift voucher for the future. For this, we are extremely grateful. Thanks also to the Seymour team who hunkered down, successfully regrouped and worked tirelessly to manage the unexpected difficulties of stopping, taking advantage of time to make valuable improvements to the whole venue and to then prepare for this moment. Believe me, they continue to do an incredible job.
From 18 September, we welcome you all back to the Seymour for special performances that provide you, our valued patrons, a safe (and spacious) environment in which to enjoy that thing we all love, the thrill of a live production. Like the rest of the world, we have pivoted. We can't bring you the season we'd planned but we are incredibly glad that we can provide a welcoming temporary home for Griffin Theatre for the rest of their 2020 season. Griffin is dedicated to the development and production of new Australian theatre and this seems a perfect fit for this moment, reminding us of who we are in this great time of uncertainty.
Our resident dance company, Shaun Parker and Co, invite you all to the premiere of a new solo work, In the Zone—a performance that uses amazing soundscape technology to create a captivating dance for all ages. Plus Banff Film Festival finds a home in our large York Theatre, and also swooping into the York will be the much-loved Room on the Broom for young audiences in the upcoming school holidays. There will be more announcements soon, including our plans for 2021.
Rest assured, while the Seymour can usually hold up to 1500 patrons per night, our maximum numbers will begin much smaller. There will be all the things we have become strangely used to in a relatively short time: temperature checks, signs to tell us where to queue, to stand, to sit and, of course, soap and sanitiser to keep hands clean … you know the drill.
However, we can also promise the opportunity for everyone to, once again, enter an auditorium where the impossible becomes possible, where you can sit in delightful anticipation of the unknown and, as the lights dim, let your imagination come alive.
16 September 2020