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Eden Court Theatre in Inverness to remain closed this summer

By Val Sweeney

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James Mackenzie-Blackman.
James Mackenzie-Blackman.

EDEN Court Theatre is extending the closure of its building until at least August 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All live performances at the Inverness theatre up until that date have been cancelled, postponed or rescheduled.

Under Canvas, Eden Court and Fèis Rois’s pop-up open-air summer music festival will not take place until late August at the earliest.

Chief executive James Mackenzie-Blackman said the impact of coronavirus on the organisation had been profound and was the biggest threat to its existence in its 44-year history.

He said the theatre was also vitally important to the wider economy, including hotels, guesthouses and the city airport.

“One of the aspects of my job that I enjoy the most is being around our bustling building, whether that be early in the morning or during a show in the evening,” he said. “We know that Eden Court is a vital community hub and that remaining closed is difficult for many, not least our staff.

“The customers we’ve been speaking to about cancellations and rescheduled events have been incredibly understanding.

“We’re committed to maintaining our relationships with all our audiences, participants and building users during this time through digital experiences, newsletters and other means.

“The loyalty of those who know and love us will be more important than ever before when we come to reopen.”

He said he was grateful for continuing support from Highland Council, Creative Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise which are working in partnership with the theatre to protect its workforce and assets.

In a submission to a Scottish Government inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on the culture and tourism sectors this week, Mr Mackenzie-Blackman said support for the cultural sector may be required for up to two years or more.

“The sector will not ‘bounce back’ overnight or return to ‘normal’ when restrictions on social distancing are lifted,” he said.

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