THE manager of a popular Burnham-on-Sea theatre said it lost more than 90 per cent of its income overnight due to Covid-19 and it will be ‘some time’ until the theatre can reopen.

The Princess Theatre and Arts Centre in Princess Street closed its doors to visitors on March 20 losing 94 per cent of its earned income overnight.

The theatre has not been eligible for any government support or the able to furlough staff and with no guidelines in sight the venue has been hit hard by lockdown.

But it has retained 80 per cent of its ticket sales from rescheduled events and had an influx of donations from residents.

Beccy Armory, business development manager of The Princess Theatre, said it will be some time before business returns to normal at the theatre.

“Our customers, staff, volunteers and supporters have been incredibly loyal over this period of closure and we are missing them,” Beccy said.

“We want to welcome visitors back right now but we can’t set a date to reopen without government guidelines.

“The implications of social distancing rules are going to have a huge impact on capacity.”

Under current rules Beccy said the theatre’s auditorium will only hold 35 people and rigorous procedures will be put in place to maintain strong levels of health and safety.

“We also need to allow ticket buyers the opportunity to plan and buy tickets, promoters do not want to open shows with only a weeks’ notice, they have at least three months normally to sell tickets,” Beccy said.

“Our industry is also expecting there to be a lag in customers returning to venues due to the ongoing worry of COVID19.”

Beccy said a planned refurbishment of the theatre was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic but she is working to bring it forward and hopes to make an announcement about it in the coming weeks.

“Right now planning for anything is a logistical nightmare. As a small team we have discussed numerous strategies and every time it has been the worst case scenario that has been executed,” Beccy said.

Beccy said The Princess said an emergency response grant from the Art Council’s National Lottery has helped them to cover some of the theatre’s losses and support their continued work in the community.

“Prior to closing our doors, research plans were in place for an education project, thanks to the Arts Council we can now begin the development phase for this. It is a project we are all very passionate about, ” Beccy said.

“It is a project we are all very passionate about at the Princess.

“There is no time for complacency, our priority is welcoming customers back to our arts centre, people viewing the art on our walls and our community groups enjoying the space.

“We will continue to plan for opening whenever that may be.”