Beauty and the Beast has become the most successful ever single production to be put on at Clacton’s Princes Theatre.
The popular panto starring Towie’s Dan Osborne and a West End cast attracted 12,898 people – which was 431 more than the previous box office record of 12,467 achieved by Sleeping Beauty last year.
It is the fourth time that audience figures have topped the 12,000 mark with Peter Pan first pulling in 12,143 customers in 2013.
All the figures have now been totted up after yesterday’s final performance and attendances have been confirmed over the three week run.
Audiences have continued to rise fairly steadily since professional pantos were first introduced in 2009 when 5,618 tickets were sold.
It has been an impressive success story and Polka Dot Pantomimes, who are based in Lincolnshire, have produced the last seven shows in association with Tendring District Council (TDC), which operates the Princes Theatre.
Mick Skeels, Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said that it is great news.
“It was a new venture when the Princes Theatre decided to put on a professional pantomime nine years ago but since then we have managed to grow audience figures by more than 7,000 people,” he said.
“This is a fantastic achievement and a credit to all those involved both behind the scenes and on stage.
“We have a tried and tested formula working with Polka Dot Pantomimes and we have continued to bring the audiences through the doors at a consistently high level year after year.
“It just goes to show that Panto is still very much a thriving British Christmas tradition which attracts all ages.”
Audience figures for the school performances were down on last year but were more than made up by the numbers attending the regular shows.
Next year’s panto has already been announced as Peter Pan and the aim will be to top 13,000 for the first time.