Bingo fans in and around the Chichester area this weekend are in for a treat as Chichester's vintage entertainer Dawn Gracie is to launch Live Retro Bingo at Oaklands Pavilion in Oaklands Park, the home of Chichester Rugby Club.
Kicking off this Friday the 9th of October, Dawn hopes to run the bingo sessions every other week.
“I feel very passionately about mental health, about the thought of loneliness. I want people to see human faces. I want people to connect. I want people to have that important connection with each other.
She continued: “I admit bingo is something I have wanted to do for years. I have got such happy memories of bingo from when I was young. I remember playing it in my grandparents’ front room and absolutely loving it. I always remembered my love of bingo and it had been in my mind for years, and when lockdown stopped things, I thought that as soon as we were allowed to, we should do this.
She added: “I couldn’t start up my Cabaret Club because for that you have got at least 12 people backstage and socially distancing would be very difficult. I wanted to do something where people could feel safe and would be in their bubbles of six. Pre-lockdown I had done a few cabarets in the Oaklands Pavilion and it is a lovely big space.”
The compact soloist who specialises in20s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 80s whilst also running vintage themed events such as the annual ‘Dawn's Vintage Weekender' has already said that should be there be a second lockdown, then the bingo sessions would switch to Zoom.
Also, there is talk of expanding the sessions to cater to an older crowd more affected by the lockdown and restrictions. Dawn said:
“And I have spoken about maybe doing something in the daytime for people of a certain age that might not be able to get out in the evenings.”
COVID Compliant Bingo
As well as explaining what to expect, Dawn was also very keen to point out the extensive safety measures that will be in place.
“I am going to call it retro bingo as I will be singing songs and I will be doing quizzes as well. You won’t be able to get up and dance, and singing along won’t be permitted. You have got to think of everything. To prevent the spray of breath, I have got a system where people will use one of those funny little hand clapper things if they get a line or whatever. There will be all sorts of measures in place to be completely COVID-compliant, and the food on offer will be table service strictly. We are even going to have chicken bingo wings!
“Each venue has to be measured specifically for social distancing, and the tables will be two metres apart. We can have 13 tables of six people, and we won’t be mixing the tables. If someone is booking a table they will have to fill it. I have set a minimum of four. It will be £10 per person.”
For further information and details on Friday's event, visit Dawn's site at https://www.dawnsvintagedo.com.