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No live performances at Eden Court until December

By Val Sweeney

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EDEN Court in Inverness has cancelled all scheduled live performances until December, theatre bosses have announced.

But plans are being put in place for a phased reopening of the building, including its cinemas, plus a series of alternative events throughout the rest of the year as coronavirus restrictions ease.

An announcement is also expected in September on whether its money-spinning pantomime – which attracts families from all over the north – will go ahead at Christmas.

The theatre's chief executive James Mackenzie-Blackman said that, while much remained uncertain, the venue would not be rushed into decisions that might be regretted in the future.

"While our currently programmed work until December has now all been cancelled, postponed or rescheduled, our efforts are focused on working towards both the delivery of an interim artistic programme and a phased reopening of Eden Court," he said.

"We do this while continuing to navigate the business through these uncharted waters to ensure we are fit for purpose to meet the needs of shows, staff and audiences when we hope to have a fully operational building in 2021.

"We have delayed the announcement of what Christmas will look like at Eden Court to allow further lockdown easing and the publication of Scottish Government guidance and advice specific to our industry.

"Christmas is an incredibly important time of the year for the success of our business and so, while so much remains uncertain, we will not be rushed into decisions that we might regret in the future."

Eden Court, which is Scotland's largest multi-arts venue, housing two theatres, two cinemas, two dance studios and conference and meeting spaces, attracts more than 300,000 people a year.

Live performances currently scheduled to take place in the Empire Theatre and OneTouch Theatre before December 4 will be cancelled, postponed or rescheduled. Ticket holders will be contacted by the sales team at least one week before they were due to attend.

Mr Mackenzie-Blackman recently revealed the theatre had refunded or moved more than 27,500 tickets so far.

The community classes programme will also not take place for the rest of the year.

While the fate the 2020 pantomime hangs in the balance, so too do the festive productions for under five-year-olds.

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