The RVT reopens this Saturday 4th July and so we asked the CEO of The RVT, James Lindsay, to tell us more about their plans as the popular venue prepare to open their doors to customers for the first time since March.
Hi James, you must be very excited about opening the doors of The RVT on Saturday?
Yes absolutely. It has been a long 14 weeks and we are very excited to be welcoming people back. We will be following the Government’s restrictions with reduced numbers and opening hours, no live performances of any kind and no loud music from DJs, basically all the things we are loved for.
Will you have both outdoor and indoor space available?
Yes we will have both indoor and some outdoor, we will utilise our outdoor table and chair licence.
How will the seating and table arrangements work?
Tables and seating will be laid out with social distancing of one metre in place.
Will customers need to book in advance?
Nope, it is first come first served.
Will there be table service or will people go to the bar to buy drinks?
Under the Government’s guidelines, it is all table service, no service at the bar. You can order with an app which we are sorting now or order from your table and pay cash or contactless.
Can you tell us about your cleaning and sanitising arrangements – and also how will the toilets work?
The sanitising programme we put in place the week before the forced closure will remain. There’s hand gel on entry and throughout the venue, we will encourage you to wash hands regularly, restricted access to toilets and all the surfaces will be cleaned regularly while we are open.
We know there won’t be any cabaret as such but will you be able to have DJs playing?
No – not even Dave Cross. We are not allowed loud music, there will only be background music.
The RVT’s customers have been very supportive of your Go Fund Me campaign. Can you tell us how important that has been to the business surviving?
We decided to set up the fund in response to the many customer enquiries and the response has been amazing, we are incredibly grateful for every single donation. During the lockdown we have spent more than £24,000 a month just to keep the venue standing including the rent. The money raised from the fund is to help us survive these upcoming months of reduced numbers and income. We are looking to the long term and this will really help us remain as a home for the most diverse line-up of performers and events in the UK.
And can you tell us what your plans are for bringing cabaret and club nights back in the future?
Everything is subject to the Government easing their restrictions, but we are in touch with all our promoters and performers and we want the business to return to normal or the new normal as soon as possible. We want to see our amazing drag queens and kings, singers, comedians, cabaret collectives, quizzes, bingo, club nights, DJs, pop stars and much more back on our stage and for the grand old lady of Vauxhall to be back supporting our much loved community.
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, SE11.