THE West Cliff Theatre may be currently on lockdown because of the coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still take you on a tour of the historic arts complex.

Photographer Steve Brading was granted exclusive access to the famous Clacton theatre just days after it closed its doors in March for what still remains an unknown amount of time.

Our gallery of snaps captures every angle of the world of showbusiness, including the glorious view from behind the sound and lighting desks and the costume cupboard.

Renowned for staging famous faces, access was also given to backstage areas where the likes of Anita Harris and Don Maclean would have relaxed prior to their shows.

In addition to hosting celebrated stars, the West Cliff Theatre, which opened back in 1928, is also dedicated to putting local, up-and-coming talent in the spotlight.

Dancers, performers and singers from performing arts groups The Company and Stagestruck Academy have all showcased their abilities at the 600-capacity venue.

The West Cliff Theatre nurtures its own young talent and hosts regular youth workshops which lead to budding performers starring in the theatre’s productions.

For its own, in-house shows, the theatre also uses it own, creative props to make each performance as interesting as possible, which can be seen here.

In the last few months, however, these props have been gathering dust, and West Cliff Theatre manager, Rob Mitchell-Gears, is still unsure of exactly when the performing arts space will swing opens its doors again.

But Mr Mitchell-Gears says the theatre has continued to work with promoters to ensure as many shows as possible are rescheduled and it will it be ready to welcome its loyal customers back when the lockdown is lifted.

"We have been working closely with artist and promoters to move affected shows to the autumn, or into 2021 and our customers have been amazing," he said.

"The majority have kept hold of their tickets, safe in the knowledge that they can change their minds up to 30 days before the new show date.

"Sadly, until social distancing is removed, It is hard to see how a theatre can operate and we need to sell over 250 seats for us and the artist to make any money.

"As the months pass by the reserves are slowly being eaten away, but again we are so fortunate to have such amazing support from our customers.

"We’ve had several donations, which really do help and many messages of support which really lifts our spirits.

"We continue to plan and we are very much staying positive. We cannot wait to open our doors again and get people back into the theatre. "This building, like so many others, comes alive when it’s busy, the sound of laughter and people enjoying themselves is what it is all about.

"And when theatre’s do open again, please support them, never has it been more vital to our survival."