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Strode Theatre re-opens doors as former theatre manager returns

Strode Theatre has announced a new programme of film and events for the autumn Christmas season, as Theatre Manager since 2019, Robin Peters, departs and former Theatre Manager, Farès K Moussa returns on an interim basis.

Having been partially re-opened since July, a new fuller programme opens with a run of the new James Bond film “No Time to Die”, which had been delayed from release for nearly two years since the start of the COVID pandemic. The theatre had closed its doors in March 2020, as a result of the COVID pandemic, which led also to its staff being made redundant and being furloughed.

Strode Theatre, which is part of Strode College, is a commercial theatre, but currently relies on significant revenue support from Strode College and Street Parish Council, and capital funding from the Friends of Strode Theatre.

Farès K Moussa (left) and Robin Peters at Strode Theatre Box Office.

Robin, whose last day at the theatre was on the October 1, said: “We have been extremely fortunate to receive support from the Culture Recovery Fund. This grant programme has helped arts organisations across the country survive the pandemic and start to rebuild. The shifting sands of the pandemic have meant that much of this work is still ongoing, with funds safely ring-fenced for the purpose.”

Farès, who was Theatre Manager from March 2017 to September 2019, and has been working mainly freelance in arts and heritage management ever-since, has returned on an interim basis to secure the new programme and bring the theatre back into full operation through a recovery period.

He said: “I have a strong affection for the Strode Theatre, so I’m delighted to be able to help steer it, hopefully, back into full-time operation. It’s important we bring the theatre back into action in a way that our audiences can feel confident to come and watch films, shows, concerts and live broadcasts. That’s why we have launched this season in ‘Safe-Mode’. The message is that we are open, and we are safe!

“The economics behind a theatre such as this are very fragile indeed – many simply don’t survive. But with help from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, Strode College and Street Parish Council’s commitment to continue supporting the theatre, together with the dedication of the theatre’s staff, and ongoing patronage from its audiences from all around the county, I believe that Strode Theatre will be here for many years to come.”

Farès, who produced the newly published season’s brochure and plans to publish a further programme soon for the new year, will share management of the theatre with his former Royal Opera House colleague, Andrew Lunt through this post-COVID recovery period, until further notice.

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