THEATRES will bounce back when the Government gives them the green light to re-open, bosses have stressed.

Ellen McPhillips, director of the Cliffs Pavilion and Palace Theatre in Westcliff, spoke after the Government announced a £1.15billion support package to help them weather the coronavirus crisis.

Days earlier, the Cliffs and other landmarks including the Basildon sign were lit up in red in an act of solidarity with the theatre and performing arts industry.

Theatres have not yet been given approval to reopen over social distancing fears which has left many across the country counting the cost of cancelled shows and re-arranging them at a later date.

Mrs McPhillips stressed the Cliffs and Palace would re-open when safe to do so and added the popular Christmas panto is provisionally still going ahead, but a final decision is yet to be made.

Mrs McPhillips said: “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s further away than any of us would have wanted.

“We’re really pleased at the announcement, but the devil is in the detail.

“We’re doing OK, but we’re just waiting on guidance.

“We will re-open, we just don’t know when yet.”

Kevin Robinson, Southend Labour councillor in charge of business, culture, and tourism, added: “It’s really good news. They bring so much to the town.

“We haven’t had confirmation about the panto yet but they’ve been rescheduling their summer shows for the autumn and into next year.

“We believe the Government package for theatres may depend on turnover, but we will need to wait and see.”

A spokesman from Basildon Council, which runs the Towngate theatre, said: “Like theatres across the country Towngate has been forced to reschedule a number of productions.

“We have kept in contact with our audience throughout the this process, who have remained loyal and supportive.

“Our plan is and has always been to reopen when Government guidelines permit us to do so and we have some great productions lined up for the future.”

The £1.15billion support programme for cultural organisations in England – including theatres – will be made up of £270million of repayable finance and £880 million of grants.