Canterbury Bid

Get to know your local…

Marlowe Theatre in the evening, lit by pink lights

It’s time to get to know the faces behind our incredible, local entertainment businesses – this week we bring you a ‘behind-the-curtain’ interview with Sam Scott, Head of Development at The Marlowe Theatre

Marlowe Theatre – The Friars, Canterbury CT1 2AS

Tell us a little bit about The Marlowe Theatre…

The Marlowe is one of this country’s most successful large-scale independent theatres. Each year, around 400,000 people see a show here, generating £42 million for the local economy. We bring world-class drama, dance, comedy and musicals to Canterbury, including regular visits from the Royal Shakespeare Company, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, and The National Theatre, as well as comedy favourites such as Sarah Millican and Jimmy Carr.

How long has The Marlowe Theatre been in the city?

There has been a Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury since 1949, when the Central Picture Theatre in St Margaret’s Street was turned into a theatre. Our current Marlowe Theatre is approaching its 10th birthday in October of this year, so we are very much looking forward to celebrating this milestone with our local community.

What are you looking forward to most after lockdown?

Our whole team can’t wait to welcome audiences back into our theatre. The rush for tickets for our planned socially distanced pantomime, Nurse Nellie Saves Panto was evidence of the thirst for theatre that exists in our wonderful audiences from around Kent, and we can’t wait to experience that pre-show buzz in our foyers again.

How will you keep your customers safe on their return?

We will be following all of the latest industry and government guidelines to ensure that your visit to the theatre is  as safe as possible.   If social distancing is still in place when we reopen, then we have a redesigned version of our auditorium ready to go, ensuring that there is the correct amount of space between each ‘customer bubble’.

What has kept you busy over lockdown?

The rescheduling of shows, and communicating that to our customers has been a huge undertaking.  We’ve had such a wonderful response from audiences, who have been very accommodating, even when their show has been rescheduled two, and in some cases three times.   We also streamed our pantomime, Nurse Nellie Saves Panto, to audiences for free over Christmas, once tier 4 restrictions meant that we could not perform it live.  Doing this at short notice was a major learning curve for the team, but we were delighted that so many people enjoyed it.   We also streamed the production to 91 care homes across Kent, where over 1,500 residents enjoy taking part in all of the pantomime fun too.

How can customers support you right now?

There has been an extraordinary level of support from our audiences since we shut in March last year. We launched our Love Your Theatre campaign shortly after that happened and I’d like to thank everyone who has donated to that. This support has meant a great deal to us and will help us to continue to provide world class entertainment and education opportunities to our local community.   Customers have also been very generous in donating their ticket refunds to our campaign.

As well as donating to Love Your Theatre, booking tickets for future shows also supports us.  We are soon to be announcing another wave of exciting shows to enjoy later in the year and you can book safe in the knowledge that you’ll receive a refund if anything changes.