'Nerve-wracking' - actor prepares for PM's winter plan announcement

Mark Kitto, from South Creake, as Sir Claude MacDonald in Chinese Boxing

Mark Kitto, from South Creake, as Sir Claude MacDonald in Chinese Boxing - Credit: Tristan Kitto

A Norfolk actor behind a one-man show says the potential winter restrictions are "nerve-wracking" as he prepares for a series of performances.

Mark Kitto, from South Creake, is returning his show 'Chinese Boxing' in October and November, with four performances across East Anglia.

With the announcement of the government's winter plan coming later on Tuesday (September 14), the arts could see reduced auditoriums and the return of mandatory mask-wearing. 

Mr Kitto, whose show examines the relationship between China and ‘the West’ today, is based around the siege of the diplomatic quarter in Peking during the Boxer Uprising in 1900.

He plays Sir Claude MacDonald, her majesty’s former minister plenipotentiary to Peking, who commanded the defences during the siege.

Southwold Arts Centre, Southwold. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Mark Kitto, from South Creake, is due to perform at Southwold Arts Centre on October 1 - Credit: Nick Butcher

The performer is due to star at Southwold Arts Centre on October 1, but said he is nervous about what could be in store this winter.

“It is nerve-wracking," he said. "So many industries are affected, but the arts performing have been hit and it would be so disappointing if we had to roll it back again.

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“We will live with it and survive.

“I believe the arts are better equipped now to keep going in some way or form. But it grinds you down.”

Mr Kitto wrote the play during the lockdown and has already performed it over a live stream for the Norwich Fringe Festival.

He has also performed shows since restrictions eased, including at the Wells Maltings, and said it would be a shame to lose out on the energy created between the audience and performer.

taithe Street, Wells-Next-The-Sea

The Wells Maltings, on Staithe Street, in Wells-Next-The-Sea. - Credit: Sarah Toon

“Theatre relies on the exchange between you and the audience,” he added

“You feed off the reaction and, if you cannot fully harvest that reaction, it does affect your performance.

“It was glorious to host shows without restrictions. Because I sometimes perform in venues which are not theatre spaces I can see the audience, and to be able to see them smiling and laughing is fantastic.”

Chinese Boxing will be performed at Southwold, Holkham Hall, Maddermarket in Norwich, and the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. You can get tickets from each venue’s website.

  • October 1: Southwold Arts Centre
  • October 29: Holkham Hall
  • November 3: Maddermarket
  • November 18: Fisher Theatre Bungay