SHETLAND Arts has confirmed it will not be taking any new bookings at its Lerwick venue Mareel between January and April.
The charity said this is to allow staff to “plan and take stock after a packed 18 months of activity”.
During much of the pandemic in-person events at Mareel have been largely curtailed, with Shetland Arts instead focusing more on online offerings.
Regarding the January to April period, a spokesperson said Shetland Arts will “continue to run an active film, exhibition, event, education, and workshop programme, including any events currently contracted or under discussion, however they are now closed to new enquiries for that period”.
Meanwhile the arts agency said there will be no Hogmanay event at Mareel at the end of the year due to the shortage of certified door stewards in Shetland.
The situation had already seen an AC/DC tribute band’s gig at the Lerwick venue on 27 December called off.
Shetland Arts is planning for Mareel to be open in the period between Christmas and New Year.
The Bonhoga Gallery will remain closed during the first weeks after Christmas as usual, although it will reopen on 21 January with a new touring exhibition from Wales.
Shetland Arts CEO Graeme Howell said: “The period of lockdown and ongoing Covid restrictions have given us the opportunity to work in new ways, reach new audiences and support Shetland.
“We already have a busy period ahead of us with a range of bookings and enquiries alongside delivering a full cinema and education programme. We are also managing over £150K of Covid support for Shetland based creative freelancers and performers through We are Live, Culture Collective and The Youth Arts Fund.
“Ensuring that we are able to manage this well and plan effectively for the future whilst managing the challenges of the national challenge of staffing in hospitality and maintaining our core offer is a priority.”
Shetland Arts has a fairly busy lead up to Christmas, with a number of events planned.
In November these include an Eva Cassidy tribute concert and a talk from wildlife photographer Doug Allan.
In December a host of events are taking place through the We Are Live programme, including two concerts from folk group Herkja, drama performances and an improv comedy pantomime.
Next year the Rachel Baiman Trio will share the bill with with Kansa in January, followed by FARA returning in February and James Yorkston bringing his Tae Sup Wi’ a Fifer sessions in February, July and September.
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