Grand Theatre hosting virtual ‘Un-opening’ night in light of COVID-19

During the Planning and Environment Committee Meeting Tuesday night, London City Councillors voted 4 to 0 to approve a motion to direct staff to look into and report back on creating a Core Area Entertainment District. benedek via Getty Images

The London Grand Theatre is holding a virtual celebration on what would have been the official opening of the theatre after $9 million in renovations.

The Grand Theatre has an exciting lineup for the night dubbed the virtual Un-Opening Night Celebration scheduled to take place from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday.

“Our entire company miss seeing the faces of our theatre patrons so much,” executive director Deb Harvey said.

“Theatre is all about connection, creativity, story-telling, and inspiration. We are so happy that we will be able to connect, at least virtually, with everyone on Thursday and bring a little something for everyone to this Un-Opening celebration.”

The event will be free for registered viewers with performers like Tess Benger, who played Sally Bowles in the production of Cabaret, and Alexis Gordon, accompanied by London artist Matthew Atkins.

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“Before the pandemic, all plans were to have our 2020-21 season launch with an unforgettable party – a three-week-long Nova Scotia kitchen party to be exact. And while we may not be able to bring you the party in person, we are thrilled to have the cast of Neptune’s Theatre’s Argyle Street Kitchen Party joining us for our Un-Opening celebration,” said Dennis Garnhum, artistic director.

After the pandemic hit, the theatre shelved its 2020-21 season in June — three weeks after its unveiling — cancelled its High School Project production of Barnum, and paused a major cross-country tour of Cabaret.

Work was also temporarily halted on their major renovations. On Thursday, viewers will get a sneak peek at the progress of RENO2020 — the threats $9-million renovation of the theatre’s lobbies, production areas, rehearsal spaces and dressing rooms.

Theatre organizers encourage people to ‘make a night of it’ by ordering some food from one of their dining partners who have also been hit hard by the pandemic.

Those wanting to get in on the fun can register on the Grand’s website or by calling the box office at 519-672-8800.

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