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The return of the Rondo

The theatre awaits! The new season at the Rondo launches in June, with a physical spectacle of theatre, comedy and music that can once again be enjoyed in person. The first production is Dirty Bath, a romp through the less salubrious aspects of the city’s history, which opened last year just before the first lockdown

Maia Tassalini stars in Cut Bait on 2 July, a comedy exploring the hilarious ups and downs of casual dating

The Rondo Theatre in Larkhall village is welcoming audiences back after being forced to close in March of last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The theatre, which can seat up to 129 people, will reopen on 2 June with a reduced capacity to enable social distancing. Their reopening season will kick off with the last show to be publicly performed in the theatre, Dirty Bath by the Natural Theatre Company, which sold out in March 2020.

Dirty Bath, presented by The Natural Theatre Company, comes back to the Rondo, from 2–5 and 9–12 June

The news that theatres will be allowed to reopen from late May comes just in time for the Rondo, which relies on the income from bar and ticket sales to survive; many other small venues have closed permanently due to the pandemic, and the future looked uncertain for the Rondo at the start of the first lockdown last year.

The Rondo’s artistic director Ian McGlynn gives his perspective: “We were incredibly lucky and grateful to receive a large grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund, and business relief grants from the council, not to mention donations from the community to our ‘Save the Rondo’ fund – without which we simply would not have been able to survive the lockdowns.”

As one of Bath’s best-loved and most vibrant performing arts venues, the outpouring of community support for the Rondo comes as no surprise. Each year the theatre presents a diverse mixture of professional theatre, stand-up comedy, music and community theatre. It often attracts some of the biggest names in comedy (Nina Conti, James Acaster, and Milton Jones are among the most recent) who enjoy testing new material in an intimate space. The theatre also provides vital support and mentorship for new, up-and-coming theatre makers, and regularly hosts premieres of brand-new, original plays.

Stiff and Kitsch perform their hit show Bricking It on 3 July. It’s all about everything keeping them awake at night: tax, wooden cutlery and the consequences of last night’s eight double G&Ts

“While the future is looking much brighter for the Rondo, we need the summer and autumn seasons to be a success. We’re taking every step to ensure the safety of our audiences, volunteers and artists, and we can’t wait to welcome them all back in June,” says McGlynn.

The new season will launch in June with the Natural Theatre Company’s Dirty Bath, a comedy romp through the less virtuous aspects of the city’s history, and one that proved hugely popular with audiences last year. The season continues through to the end of July with theatre, comedy and music, including the singing comedy duo Stiff & Kitsch (one half of which, Rhiannon Neads, hails from Bath), and Cut Bait, written by the Rondo’s own deputy director Pippa Thornton and starring Maia Tassalini. Also on offer is the Rondo’s Summer Theatre School for young people aged 8–15, which takes place for a week in July and August.

Rondo Theatre, St Saviour’s Road, Larkhall, Bath; 0333 666 3366; rondotheatre.co.uk/whats-on

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