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Bishop's Stortford Musical Theatre Company postpones Kipps show at Rhodes Arts Complex in November




Rhodes Arts Complex has started to advertise shows taking place from July – but Bishop's Stortford Musical Theatre Company's major annual production in six months' time will not be among them.

The award-winning amateur group has "with incredibly heavy hearts" decided to postpone Kipps, the updated Half A Sixpence musical, which was due to take place at the South Road venue on November 9 to 14, with Alex Outlaw making her full production debut as director. It will now take place in November 2021.

BSMTC, which had already cancelled its spring show, Curtain Call, at Little Hadham village hall, said that it could not proceed without guarantees around the cast and creative team being able to rehearse or perform, or even relating to venues, costume and scenery. Its decision followed an online meeting of the 12-strong committee.

BSMTC's NODA award-winning November 2019 production of Jekyll & Hyde The Musical at Rhodes (34087198)
BSMTC's NODA award-winning November 2019 production of Jekyll & Hyde The Musical at Rhodes (34087198)

A statement from the company last week said: "As we all go through this horribly uncertain time, we've had to make some rather difficult decisions as a committee over the last few weeks.

"After much discussion, and with incredibly heavy hearts, we have decided unanimously that it is in the best interests of BSMTC and our community to postpone Kipps as our large-scale autumn production for 2020, with the view to put this on as the 2021 autumn production.

"Please know that this is not a decision that we have taken lightly, and are all incredibly appreciative of the hard work that Alex [Outlaw], [choreographer] Elsa [Springham] and [musical director] Susie [Savage] have already put into the show, as well as Sadie and Paul [at Rhodes]."

Alex Outlaw is making her directorial debut with Kipps: The New Half a Sixpence Musical (34087202)
Alex Outlaw is making her directorial debut with Kipps: The New Half a Sixpence Musical (34087202)

The statement continued: "There were several factors that influenced our decision, and even with the possibility of being able to audition/rehearse virtually, there are no guarantees anybody will be in a position to come together to rehearse over the coming months or even attend performances come the autumn.

"Logistically, there were also huge factors in terms of the production aspects of the show, with no certainty around venues (both rehearsal and performance), costumes and scenery.

"We all felt... that we wouldn't want to compromise on the quality of what will undoubtedly be a spectacular show.

"We also recognise that there is a risk of significant financial implications should we have to cancel or postpone the show again following possible changes in regulations or a resurgence of the virus.

BSMTC in rehearsals last year for Jekyll & Hyde The Musical (34087236)
BSMTC in rehearsals last year for Jekyll & Hyde The Musical (34087236)

"As such, we all felt that it is our duty of care to do as much as we can to protect our members and wider community, as well as the financial security of this company."

It said that MTI (Music Theatre International), which supplies the licence for the show to be performed, had confirmed that the rights were available for its 2021 dates and it had provisionally booked this, pending paperwork.

* Rhodes is closed until Sunday May 31 and its telephone lines are not being manned. However, box office staff will be available on Wednesday April 29 from 1pm to 7pm to take calls enquiring about tickets on 01279 710200.


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