LIVE performances will return to Basildon’s theatre after bosses were handed a £270,000 lifeline from the Government.

The Towngate Theatre has been awarded £279,713 as part of the £1.57billion culture recovery fund, with bosses saying it will allow for live shows with social distanced audiences.

There will three performances of the “Spooktacular Magic Show” this Halloween.

In a bid to abide by social distancing as performances return, all seats will be two metres apart, aside from those booked by people in the same household.

The theatre also launched the Towngate Supper Club in recent weeks - with the first evening selling out in 48 hours.

Chairman of Basildon Council’s neighbourhoods and public spaces committee, David Harrison said: “The Towngate Theatre is a popular and much-loved cultural hub for the town and seeing it through this difficult period for the theatre industry is so important.

“I’m grateful our bid for funding has been accepted by the Government to help our wonderful theatre along with other theatres across the country.

“This grant is essential in ensuring the sustainability of the Towngate Theatre.”

As a result of the pandemic, no performances have taken place at the theatre since March, with bosses also forced to cancel the Christmas pantomime.

A number of south Essex theatres and entertainment hotspots have been given a lifeline as the Government hands out more cash.

The Thameside Theatre in Grays was given £191,176.

Live music pub Chinnerys on Southend seafront was given £55,000, while indoor crazy golf course Caddies in the town, which has comedy nights, was given £180,000.

Theatre bosses in Southend also gave a sigh of relief when Southend Theatres was given £656,775 in grant funding from the fund.

In the East of England this investment will help save 51 theatres, galleries, performance groups, arts organisations, museums and venues facing the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, to ensure they have a sustainable future and continue to bring joy to communities.