Theatre looks at all options
EVERY EFFORT MADE FOR PANTO TO GO ON
NEWS that the North East has been placed in the tightest Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions has confirmed the worst fears of a leading theatre producer who is calling on the Government to let pantos go ahead this Christmas.
Michael Harrison, the Wallsendborn boss of the world’s largest pantomime producer Qdos, is also the producer of the annual show at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle where the team has been hard at work on creating a safe, socially distanced production of Robin Hood that is due to open a three-week run on December 19.
While the tier system is due to be reviewed on December 16, Tier 3 means the closure of theatres despite the fact non-essential shops and gyms can open and the Theatre Royal has said it is now reviewing its plans.
Michael, speaking before Thursday’s tier announcement, told how, in the event of the worst happening, he is lobbying the Government and urging it to allow the pantomime to still proceed, with all its planned social-distancing measures, reduced capacity and bubble seating in place, asking “what can be safer than that?”.
The Theatre Royal has already sold 17,000 tickets for Robin Hood while across the region other theatres – which have all suffered hugely during the pandemic lockdowns – have gone to similar lengths
against the odds to create socially distanced Christmas entertainment for families this year.
Among them, Newcastle’s Alphabetti Theatre and The Customs House in South Shields had been due to launch their shows before the December tier review date while other theatres are instead focusing on virtual performances.
In a message on its social media account, The Customs House said: “Please bear with us while we digest the impact of the new Tier 3 measures on our little theatre. We will have a full update for you shortly.”
Following Thursday’s news, the Theatre Royal is telling ticket-holders that it is now reviewing its plans for Robin Hood.
It said: “We are considering what the outcome of the Tier review in two weeks’ time might bring and exploring all our options for the show.”
It is asking people to be patient in the meantime. The theatre has already said that if performances are not allowed to go ahead due to Government restrictions, customers will be able to either transfer their tickets or have a credit note or full refund.
We are considering what the outcome of the Tier review in two weeks’ time might bring Theatre Royal statement