The UK theatrical premiere of the Broadway version of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester has been cancelled, it is announced today.
Cinderella was due be the first musical produced by A Factory of Creativity (charity no 1183251) – the charitable organisation recently formed to take over the running of Hope Mill Theatre , which was co-founded by Joseph Houston and William Whelton in 2015.
The production was scheduled to run at Hope Mill Theatre from Saturday 9th May to Saturday 6th June 2020 and then at Clonter Opera Theatre, Cheshire from Tuesday 9th to Sunday 14th June 2020, however this has now been put on hold indefinitely due to uncertainty over the current Covid-19 outbreak.
Hope Mill Theatre closed to the public earlier this week, following the Government’s guidance that people avoid going to the theatre at this time.
William Whelton, Executive Director of Hope Mill Theatre, said: “During these uncertain times and with our current closure, Hope Mill Theatre is unable to financially commit to producing the upcoming theatrical premiere of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. This was a heartbreaking decision to make but unfortunately was the only decision we faced in order to safeguard our current employees and the future of our venue.
“To produce a show on this scale, at a theatre of Hope Mill’s size poses many challenges in the best of circumstances, so to do so in the current climate simply posed too great a risk.”
Joseph Houston, Artistic Director of Hope Mill Theatre, said: “The past few days have been the hardest times we have ever faced as a venue and community. A show like Cinderella has been a year in the planning for us, with a full creative and production team in place and already at work, and an incredibly exciting casting process which resulted in the most talented group of performers confirmed.
“We are hopeful that Cinderella will go to the ball, but at this time we are unsure when that will be. As for Hope Mill Theatre, like so many venues we do not know what our fate holds but we stay hopeful that our doors will open soon and once again we will be filling our little mill with music, laughter and applause.”
Audience members will be contacted in due course – week commencing Monday 23th March – for refunds. The theatre is requesting customers please don’t call the theatre direct regarding refunds as they have limited staff available to take calls at this time.
Hope Mill Theatre are asking audience members, if they are in a position to do so, to consider donating their ticket money to the venue to allow them to operate during these uncertain times.
Audiences can also make a donation to Hope Mill Theatre via its website hopemilltheatre.co.uk.
There are two ways to do it, either as a straight donation, or to become a Friend of the theatre, with different priced packages available.
Hope Mill Theatre also launched its ‘First Curtain’ scheme to coincide with Cinderella. The scheme was set up to allow audience members to purchase tickets for local young children to have their first theatre experience. These funds will stay in place and we will continue to work with local primary schools and youth groups for when the venue is back in operation.