No pantomime for Princes Theatre this year

Friday, 24 July, 2020
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs panto last year

This year’s pantomime scheduled for the Princes Theatre will no longer go ahead due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Clacton theatre has made the difficult decision jointly with production company Anton Benson Productions, and Jack and The Beanstalk will instead come to the stage next year.

Pantomime has become a Christmas tradition for families from across the area at the Tendring District Council-run theatre, but the health and wellbeing of audiences, cast, crew and everyone else involved has to come first.

Alex Porter, Tendring District Council (TDC) Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said it had not been an easy decision – but it was the right one.

“Here at the Princes Theatre we believe our annual pantomime is best experienced with a large audience, full of friends and families coming together to enjoy the performance, full of laughter, shouting and that all-important interaction with the actors on stage – and with current health restrictions, that would not be possible,” Councillor Porter said.

“It is also essential the cast and crew are able to work in close proximity with one another to produce the high quality performances our panto has become renowned for, and with too many uncertainties that we could deliver a production to the high standard our customers have come to expect, we feel we would be doing a disservice to our audiences to press ahead this year.

“As a result this feels like the only sensible option, but rest assured the pantomime will be back next year – and we will look to see if we can put something else on, of a different nature, as a Christmas attraction this year, restrictions permitting.”

Anton Benson Productions had been awarded a three-year contract for pantomimes, which began with last year’s Snow White. TDC has agreed to extend the contract, with Anton Benson Productions bringing three winter pantomimes from 2021 – giving the firm a fair opportunity to showcase its quality.

Anton Benson said: “We have been busy behind the scenes preparing the largest and most ambitious Christmas panto ever to be staged at the Princes Theatre for this Christmas.

“However, given the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, we want to prioritise everyone’s health and safety.

“In conjunction with the Princes Theatre, we feel it best to postpone our plans until 2021 rather than delivering a compromised performance – we promise it will absolutely be worth the wait and look forward to sharing lots of exciting news with you soon.”

Last updated on: 24/07/2020 - 16:33