DESPITE the mass shut down of venues, new Black Country theatre group Unity Productions managed to go ahead with their hotly anticipated production of rock musical Rent by live streaming it to theatre fans on the internet.

The show was set to be presented to live audiences at Stourbridge Town Hall from March 18 to 21 but public performances had to be cancelled as the government ramped up efforts to try to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by calling for all theatres, nightclubs, pubs and restaurants to shut their doors until further notice.

Remarkably, however, the 21-strong cast were able to go on with the show, about struggling young artists in New York, thanks to a lifeline opportunity granted by Dudley Council bosses.

A spokesman for Unity Productions said: "The council gave us permission to stay in the theatre on Wednesday evening to do a behind closed doors performance so that we could stream it to whomever wanted to see.

"We streamed it through YouTube and had a phenomenal response."

Theatre fans can watch the show online here or check out

"We were obviously saddened to not be able to perform to a an audience in the theatre but were absolutely thrilled to perform in this way instead. The feedback has been so positive. The cast and crew are humbled."

The broadcast of the show, which is not often performed on the amateur circuit, has been viewed nearly 5,000 times and has brought in donations of more than £1,000 which will be given to the Georgina Unit which treats cancer patients at Russells Hall Hospital.