THE STERTS Theatre canopy has been condemned and the outdoor venue will not open for live performance this year.
But amid the sadness of this news is optimism that a new theatre can emerge - and a touring show is planned to show that Sterts is very much alive and kicking, say trustees.
Auditions will be held soon for the production which will be staged at local venues including in Launceston and Liskeard.
Sterts, at Upton Cross, had to postpone the start of its 2023 season after the canopy and its structure were found to be damaged.
The trustees have announced in recent days that the canopy has to be condemned.
“It is a great sadness, as it is a unique structure. But it has not weathered the storms,” said chairman Nick Hart.
“However, our insurance settlement means that we are in a position to start work on planning for a new theatre, and already work has been going on behind the scenes to see what we can construct with the funds available, and what Planning at Cornwall Council will support.”
The theatre has now “come through the worst” of a financial crisis, said Nick.
“I am delighted to report that we are through the worst and that we do have a very exciting future ahead of us. We should be able to start our new financial year clear of all debt, with all creditors paid, and a sufficiently large sum of money to re-imagine our theatre.
“One of the privileges of being chair during this very turbulent time has been to begin to understand the strength of feeling that the community has towards Sterts. It is a truly vibrant and dynamic group of people, all with a determination to make a success of whatever fate throws in our path.”
Trustees are now looking ahead to a travelling show which will also act as a fundraiser for the theatre.
The production ‘Sterts on Tour – a Celebration’ will be directed by theatre stalwarts Mark Sidey and Jane Warwick and will involve actors, musicians, dancers and backstage roles for all ages.
With the show open to everyone to take part, rehearsals will take place during the existing Sterts group sessions for children and adults – and there’ll be additional sessions for anyone who’s not part of one of these, on Sundays from April 30 at 10am.
Show dates so far confirmed are July 8 and 15 in Launceston and August 22 and 26 in Liskeard, with more hopefully to be arranged.
“Having only just heard that we can now go ahead in April, when we would normally have started rehearsals by now, the turn round for auditions has to be very quick,” say the trustees.
“As a result there will be live auditions on Saturday April 22 between 10am – 1pm in the studio. If you are unable to make this date we ask that you send a recording of your audition piece, to also reach us by April 22, to [email protected]. You do not need to audition to be in the ensemble.”
Anyone wishing to audition for a solo part should perform a song of their own choice, and whilst the loose theme of the event is ‘family’, you do not have to pick a song to fit that.
“Please choose something you love singing, that you can perform with confidence. You can sing to a backing track or piano accompaniment.”
“We are excited about getting something on the road again and hope as many of the Sterts family as possible can get involved.”