A BUNBURY theatre group who took swift actions to 'limit the spread' of COVID-19 last year will this month re-open it's doors to what is hoped will be an important year for theatre.
The Bunbury Musical Comedy Group who operate out of the New Lyric Theatre on Bourke Street will have a 'soft opening' during April after completely resetting standards to become a COVID safe venue in December 2021.
Group president Tony Carey set the record straight to the Mail, confirming that despite rumours, the decision to close the theatre was only temporary in an effort to limit the risk of transmitting COVID-19 amid increasing cases.
"We were warned that we'd have to be ready to change things by January 31 in terms of restrictions - but then the Omicron variant arrived," Mr Carey said.
"So we had to ask ourselves, what is the responsible thing to do, do we put people at risk or close for a while?
"We decided to close the theatre from December to April at great financial risk to the future of the club - but for the safety of our community."
Despite closing to hirers and ceasing Bunbury Musical Comedy Group productions, Mr Carey said temporarily closing the theatre gave the group the "opportunity to reset".
"We had to realistic going forward that something in our thinking in our community had changed - people are afraid to be out in public because of COVID, but we are doing everything we can to be careful.
"We also understand that people have lost jobs and are now struggling to find housing, and pay for fuel and food - so it's important for us this season to keep the quality of theatre high, but the price of tickets low where we can.
"We're the Musical Comedy Group, not the high drama group, and we're working very hard to bring up the light and laughter and music, which is now more important than ever.
Audiences returning to theatre will need to check-in using the SafeWA app, wear a mask and be double dose vaccinated against COVID-19. The first production of an English pantomime is planned for July.