LIVE theatre will return to Basingstoke next month after a year away due to the Covid pandemic.

The Haymarket will play host to the town's first performance since March 2020 at the start of June as lockdown restrictions continue to ease, when John Lyons stars in whodunnit Father Brown - The Murderer in the Mirror.

Boris Johnson confirmed earlier this week that theatres would be able to reopen from May 17 with socially-distanced, limited capacity performances.

It comes after a tumultuous year for the arts industry both nationwide and in the town.

Performances at the Anvil and Haymarket were stopped in March just before the Prime Minister announced the first lockdown, and earlier this year the council announced that it would be cutting funding for Anvil Arts, the charity that runs performances across the town's two theatres.

It's since seen an outcry from members of the public and some councillors, who have called for cuts to be reversed.

Now, Anvil Arts have announced that Father Brown - The Murderer in the Mirror will be the Haymarket's first live theatre performance in over a year.

With John Lyons, of Upstairs Downstairs and The Sweeney fame, leading as the titular character, audiences are in for a treat of a murder mystery, with more twists and turns than Agatha Christie.

Father Brown will be the first performance back at the Haymarket

Father Brown will be the first performance back at the Haymarket

It is being run by Rumpus Theatre Company, written by John Goodrum and based on classic mysteries by G K Chesterton.

The play will focus on mild-mannered priest Father Brown, who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, if you count always being around when a murder is committed as being in the right place.

When a famous actor is found dead just before the opening of his latest West End production, Father Brown - invited to watch the dress rehearsal - sees at once in the shattered dressing room mirror that all is not as it seems.

If all the possible suspects were on stage at the time, watched by Father Brown, who could possibly be the murderer?

The show will also feature performances from Karen Henson, Christopher Brookes, John Goodrum and David Gilbrook.

Four performances will run from Thursday, June 3 to Saturday, June 5, including a matinee on Saturday afternoon.

Rearranged from its original date in March, tickets are priced at £23, or £21 for the matinee, with reduced fares available for under 25s and full time students.

Social distancing regulations will be in force in all performances.

To find out more or to book your tickets, go to: