Oh no, it’s cancelled! Theatre calls off 2020 pantomime due to coronavirus

Two of the cast from last year’s pantomime of Snow White at the Princes Theatre in Clacton. Graham C

Two of the cast from last years pantomime of Snow White at the Princes Theatre in Clacton. Graham Cole as Herbert the Henchman, with Tim Hudson as Dame Dolly. Picture: PRINCES THEATRE/TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Clacton’s Princes Theatre has had to cancel its 2020 pantomime of Jack and the Beanstalk due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A festive show at the venue has been a Christmas tradition for years.

However, the theatre and Anton Benson Productions - which was putting on this year’s show - felt there was no choice but postpone it for a year.

Tendring District Council, which runs the theatre, said the “health and wellbeing of audiences, cast, crew and everyone else involved has to come first”.

Alex Porter, the council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said: “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,” Cllr Porter said.

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“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.”

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Anton Benson Productions had been awarded a three-year contract for pantomimes, which began with last year’s Snow White.

The council has has agreed to extend the contract, with Anton Benson Productions bringing three winter pantomimes from 2021.

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.”

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