A THEATRE production company owner has spoken out about the effects that coronavirus has and will have on theatres, cinemas and other arts businesses.

Tom Rolfe owns Tom Rolfe productions based in Redcar's Martindale Way.

Tom said: "I run my own small production company in Redcar. I produce a lot of shows in the area, particularly Yarm, Redcar and Blackpool, for the summer season we sometimes go to Scarborough. It's quite seasonal work, it's a bit different from other businesses, a pub might be able to do takeaway food, we can't do anything with the social distancing in place - it wouldn't be viable.

"We'll be left in the lurch if the government says we can open. That's the main thing really, and there has been talks about it.

"Some theatres are saying every other row will be filled, some theatres are talking about everyone wearing masks and hand sanitising. People are also looking at machines that people would walk through which would check your temperature.

"Actors would have to self-isolate for months. While cast and crew have been talking about how we could do it."

Some of the theatres Tom works with hold hundreds of people.

"If we were to only seat every other row, we would be running at a big loss," Tom said.

During the lockdown the Redcar Panto which Tom runs live streamed, one of their previous productions, Sleeping Beauty, online.

They streamed to nursing homes, hospitals and living rooms on Easter Sunday.

"The live stream is all we've been able to do," Tom said, "that was for charity."

Their last show was towards the end of March - the night the lockdown was announced was due to be a performance which had to be cancelled.

Tom said: "It's more a question of will [the government] tell people they can go to shows - when are people allowed to leave their homes and go to cinemas, go to theatres. Without them saying it's safe to go people are scared. They need to repair the damage."