THE Torch Theatre has said they are aiming to be back open to members of the public on November 1 as it continues to battle the coronavirus crisis.

As a not-for-profit registered charity, the Torch has been fighting to survive through this difficult period.

They have been successful in funding applications to the BFI, Film Hub Wales and the National Lottery Resilience Fund, the Arts Council Wales Stabilisation Fund, as well as being eligible for two Welsh Government Business Rates Grants.

This crucial support has given them the security to plan essential maintenance, maintain audience and community engagement, and develop new modes of working in view of Covid-19.

On Monday (July 27), coronavirus restrictions in Wales will be relaxed further and the First Minister will announce that cinemas are among some of the businesses that can re-open.

However, the Torch has been in contact with many of its customers who have said they do not have any desire to return to cinemas whilst there is still uncertainty about the production rate of the coronavirus.

The Torch has also said that film distributors are not able to confirm release dates and producers of live shows are cancelling and rescheduling tours to ensure that their businesses remain viable.

Bad weather back in February caused damage to the Theatre’s fly tower and they have been able to secure funding which will allow maintenance work to be carried out.

With these factors in mind, the Torch has announced how they plan to operate from November 1.

All live theatre performances have been cancelled for the remainder of 2020 but it is hoped, should conditions allow, that live productions can return from January 2021.

Should social distancing rules remain in place from January they would be forced to continue with a cinema only offer into the new year.

The Torch will open in November with a cinema only offer for the rest of 2020, at a limited capacity to maintain social distancing requirements.

Operational staff would be required to work in bubbles under strict health and safety guidelines.

This ambition to return with cinema only for November and December is dependent on the threat posed at that time by Covid-19, Government directives, securing further financial support and commitment from the film distributors.

The Torch have said in a statement: "There remain a host of unknowns and whilst we are planning for our best-case scenario, we are also preparing for the worst: should even a socially distanced cinema offer prove untenable from November then we may yet be forced to close for the remainder of the financial year."

Peter Doran, the Torch Theatre’s Artistic Director said: “Here at the Torch we try and cover all aspects of theatre and the performing arts but at the end of the day, we pride ourselves on being theatre makers, producing our own work; consequently, if we’re not able to produce, it feels like the creative heart has gone out of the building and so we are determined to get up and running again as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“And to that end, we aim to come back in the new year with all guns blazing and producing great pieces of theatre.

“We are all looking forward to that. In the meantime, we are planning some interesting community projects for people to get involved in and we also plan something for the schools as a Christmas treat, so look out for us.”