A SEASIDE theatre will be returning with its popular Summer Show after being handed a £55,000 grant to help it survive the lockdown.

Clacton's West Cliff Theatre celebrated 125 years of variety in 2019, but was forced to close its door last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The theatre has now been awarded £55,000 from the second round of funding from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, which was set up to ensure venues can withstand the impact of the lockdown.

Rob Mitchell-Gears, theatre manager, said it means the Summer Show, the longest running summer variety show in the country, will return this year.

He said: "We are delighted and very much relieved to have been successful in our application for support from the Cultural Recovery Fund.

"This money will allow us to move forward with confidence as the West Cliff returns to operational status after being closed - apart from nine performances in December - for well over a year."


Clacton's West Cliff Theatre manager Rob Mitchell-Gears

He added that the "unprecedented" level of investment would help the theatre to weather the storm of coronavirus and come back stronger.

"It is vital for theatres like ours which is very much at the heart of the community," added Rob.

"While we celebrate this good news our thoughts and best wishes go to everyone in our industry who has been affected and especially to those who have had little or no support during these very challenging times.

"We will reopen the front doors for box office enquires from April 12 and plan to resume performances from mid-June.

"We are also delighted to announce that we are going ahead with our Summer Show.

"We are reducing the number of performances for 2021, but we hope that everyone will come join us for some much-needed fun, laughter and entertainment over the coming months."