Christmas Programme of Events
The Committee were provided with an overview of the Christmas programme planned for Gravesend Town Centre for 2020 and the winter lights festival in January 2021, given Covid-19 restrictions.
The Assistant Director (Communities) advised that the programme had been designed completely adhering to Government restrictions and all social distancing measures had been taken into consideration. Following the recent lockdown 2 the beginning of the programme had to be cancelled however if lockdown is lifted from 2 December, then the events planned in December 2020 would move ahead. The Christmas Lights Switch On Parade had to be cancelled however the Christmas Lights had been put up and the Mayor would release a video promoting the Christmas Light Switch On virtually. The Christmas Tree would be delivered next week and it would be fully decorated by the end of next week; the lights trail around the Town would form part of the Lights Festival in January 2021. The Market Days and Workshops prior to 2 December have been cancelled, but others are planned to go ahead. The drive in Cinema event is still planned to go ahead.
The Service Manager (Town Centre & Cultural Services) further expanded on the Christmas Events Programme, the first ever Gravesham Lights Festival and the current position with the Pantomime (pages 54-55) to Members.
Cllr Craske gave his thanks to the company 8Point3 LED, who had assisted in the creation of the Lights Festival, as they were also the company that offered to repair the vandalised Clocktower lights which showed great community spirit.
Cllr Aslam and Cllr Elliott also gave their thanks to the Assistant Director (Communities) and the Service Manager (Town Centre & Cultural Services) for the creation of a Christmas Programme and putting on a pantomime show for the children during a difficult period
Following questions, the Assistant Director (Communities) and the Service Manager (Town Centre & Cultural Services) explained that:
· The Drive In Cinema event would be held in Milton Place Car Park.
· There was a connection between St Andrew’s Arts Centre and Charles Dickens; the building of St Andrew’s, by the daughter of Francis Beaufort, was helped with funding donated by Charles Dickens. It was not a very well-known link to Charles Dickens, but one to be recognised.
· The pantomime would usually have a total capacity of 650 people but to ensure Covid compliancy that number had been reduced to a max of 240. The Service Manager (Town Centre & Cultural Services) agreed to speak to Cllr Scollard outside of the meeting to determine if any special arrangements could be arranged for the large groups of children he usually brought every year
· The local schools were liaised with as in previous years however many of them were unsure of taking a large amount of school children across Town to the theatre due to Covid-19 and social distancing issues. The prospect of taking the pantomime into the local schools was discussed but there were issues with that approach; the Council and pantomime producer had been looking to see if the run time of the pantomime could be extended into January to accommodate additional performances
Members noted the information contained within the report.