Empowering the Freelance Economy

Panto could be on this Christmas thanks to a group of crowdfunding freelancers creating a theatre in the round for the new normal

‘There will be no panto this year – oh yes there will, oh no there won’t – oh yes there will…’ No, this isn’t a Cabinet Office scuffle between PM Boris Johnson, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, it is a ray of hope created by Popp Theatre and Gwaryjy, a team of crowdfunding freelance theatre and performance artists determined to create a series of COVID-safe live performances in a theatre in the round in Truro. Kooky? Definitely. Just what this country needs? Yep. Why? It’s panto and it will employ up to 30 freelancers!

“Our aim is to create a theatre for the future by providing a safe performance space for theatre, comedy, dance and music that gives a protected environment for both audience and performers,” said the Popp Theatre, which is leading the Gwaryjy project, in a statement.


“We will create a stage in the round, surrounded by individual pods for audience members. Each pod will be able to accommodate a maximum of 4 people from the same household or safety bubble in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions and Public Health England Government guidance. Each pod will be fully accessible for wheelchair users.”

If you pledge £25 you will receive a free round of drinks for your pod (up to 4 drinks alcoholic or non-alcoholic) ready for you either pre-show or at the interval for the night you book to see your show. You can take advantage of one of the local eateries in Truro before the show, too, if you pledge £50, which will get 2 meals for the price of 1 (pre-theatre menu at selected restaurants).

If their fundraising is successful, they will pilot a 6-week programme providing jobs for over 30 local artists/companies, enabling audiences and performers to feel more confident about enjoying live entertainment again.

If you live in the area, have friends or family there and think this would make a memorable gift or are planning on being in Truro over the holidays, or just love the idea of a Covid-safe pop-up indoor theatre for the community ready for Christmas 2020, click here

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