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Theatre is back – Gaslight to open at Her Majesty’s

State Theatre Company South Australia will make a grand return to the stage in September with Gaslight, the first major production to premiere at the newly refurbished Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Gaslight will be the company’s first public performance since March, and the first opportunity for general audiences to be seated at the historic theatre following its $66m upgrade.

Originally programmed for the Dunstan Playhouse, Gaslight will play at The Maj to accommodate physical distancing measures. Patrons will be seated in a chequerboard layout (seated comfortably with one spaced seat between each patron in a row) across the three-level auditorium, halving the 1467-patron capacity.

Gaslight, Patrick Hamilton’s mind-bending thriller from 1938, will be directed and reimagined by Catherine Fitzgerald with a beloved SA-cast including Eileen Darley, Ellen Freeman, Ksenja Logos, Nathan O’Keefe and Katherine Sortini. Audience members who already hold tickets for the show will be automatically re-seated in the new venue, with comparable seats allocated where possible.

State Theatre Company South Australia Artistic Director Mitchell Butel says he is delighted to welcome audiences back to the theatre, following the cancellation of the company’s past five shows due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“That State Theatre Company South Australia can now share a full theatrical production with Adelaide in the magnificent new Her Majesty’s Theatre, with safety measures in place, is wonderful news,” Mr Butel says.

“To be the first large-scale show in this glorious reinvention of Her Majesty’s Theatre is historic. To be the first large-scale show to open in Adelaide, and possibly Australia, since the flattening of the COVID-19 curve in South Australia is exciting. To do this with a dynamic reinvention of a classic thriller in Gaslight is the cherry on top.

“Our hearts are with other states and theatre-makers who have not been as lucky and we hope that tides turn shortly, so they too can heal and entertain audiences with great works of art. But I’m happy we can dazzle South Australian audiences very soon.”

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM says the venue will implement strict hygiene measures to ensure the health and safety of every artist, staff member and patron. “We look forward to welcoming audiences, artists and staff back to Her Majesty’s Theatre and Adelaide Festival Centre venues. As the state’s leading arts venue organisation, we are working collaboratively with State Theatre Company South Australia and other local arts organisations to bring back live entertainment and share all we’ve experienced as a community. To ensure people feel comfortable and safe returning to our venues, Adelaide Festival Centre has been working closely with SA Health to ensure the safety of all patrons, staff and artists. We have implemented several safety measures in our venues including physical distancing, hand sanitising stations, and frequent cleaning.”

Premier Steven Marshall says: ‘It’s fantastic to see the return of theatre in Adelaide in the newly restored Her Majesty’s Theatre. The arts and culture sector has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, and I am proud to see our arts companies leading the nation in how they deliver their work to audiences during this period. State Theatre Company South Australia’s performance in September is likely to be one of the first major theatre performances in Australia since the COVID-19 pandemic began.”

The decision to stage Gaslight has been made due to the Federal and State Governments’ public health advice in dealing with the risk of spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the recent State Government release of the Roadmap for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions. State Theatre Company South Australia will respond to advice from regulatory authorities and act following government recommendations over the coming months.

Gaslight is on from Sep 4-19. Tickets at statetheatrecompany.com.au and BASS on 131 246. Venue information at adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au/your-visit/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-update/