THE CURTAIN at the Queen’s Hall theatre hasn’t risen for five months after the venue closed amid national uncertainty and growing health and safety concerns.

Venues throughout the UK were intrigued by how an experiment of socially-distanced performances would work.

However the arts industry remains in lockdown after the Government reversed its decision for the reopening of theatres in London’s West End last week.

And at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham there are reservations over reopening with social distancing in place.

Artistic director and chief executive Katy Taylor explained: “We have done the calculations and it’s complicated.

“We need numbers in the theatre and we are making a financial loss on every show.

There is also the issue of a lack of atmosphere which is why you come to the theatre.

“Sitting two metres away with a mask on and having to manage that is not the same.”

A five-month closure period has forced UK theatres to cut staff, but the Queen’s Hall has no plans for redundancies.

“We have to be very careful and plan what risks we take,” Katy said, “but we are not consulting on redundancies and do not intend to.”

The venue has more than 40 volunteers and is home to youth theatre, dance groups and the community choir who are described as the heart of the business.

“They are great ambassadors at what they do. Without them we would not be able to open,” Katy said.

“We don’t want to open and then close suddenly. We are thinking slowly and safely for the long term.

“It’s about taking our time, watching and learning from others.”