For many, the country’s third national lockdown has proven to be an especially draining and attritional one in comparison to the first two. Whether that be due to the inclement winter weather conditions and relatively limited daylight hours or a sense of national ’covid fatigue,’ now more then ever it is vital for everyone to be able to enjoy moments of levity and relief whenever they can. Although the recently imposed restrictions have caused large swathes of the hospitality and entertainment industries to close, many, like Kingston centre’s Rose Theatre, have managed to adapt their business model in order to continue to serve their customers remotely and provide an escape from the worries of day-to-day affairs.

  Sitting on the bank of the River Thames in the middle of Kingston’s ancient town centre, the Rose Theatre would normally be packed, with over eight hundred people in its auditorium enjoying various award-winning productions. Despite the venue being made COVID secure by implementing the safety and hygiene measures required by the Government and bearing the ‘See it Safely’ standards mark, the Rose was forced to close in accordance with the ever-changing restrictions, leading to the financial impact to grow as the theatre makes most of its income from ticket sales. With the intention of continuing to put on a performance for all those who had booked tickets for the family friendly performance of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s ‘Stickman’, the company in an innovative move filmed a made for TV version of the production. This version was made available for all to stream for the price of £20, allowing the theatre to continue earning revenue in what is typically the busiest time of the year for the industry.

 However, the theatre has had to cancel twelve shows and postpone twenty-six others and it is currently unlikely that it will be possible for the next show, an adaptation of ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’ due to be performed in February, to be filmed and distributed in the same way as ‘Stickman.’ Due to the uncertain nature of contemporary times, a campaign to support the theatre, publicised with the hashtag “#RoseEndures” has begun. The appeal for donations has been well received, with over 1300 individual gifts being contributed for the preservation and maintenance of the Rose. If anyone donates a sum equal or greater to £1000, the theatre will inscribe a seat in the auditorium with a message of your own choosing. With all luck, we will once again all be able to enjoy the outstanding productions in person very soon.