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Theatre Royal Stratford East postpones panto until 2021

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 August 2020

There will be no pantomime at Theatre Royal Stratford East this Christmas. Picture: Ken Mears

There will be no pantomime at Theatre Royal Stratford East this Christmas. Picture: Ken Mears

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Theatre Royal Stratford East has announced there will be no festive pantomime taking place this year.

The Gerry Raffles Square venue was scheduled to host a run of Red Riding Hood this Christmas, but it has been postponed until 2021.

Nadia Fall, artistic director and Eleanor Lang, executive director, said they have delayed the production to next year with a “heavy heart”, adding that panto has been part of the theatre’s festive offering since 1884.

The theatre bosses said: “So many people tell us that the Stratford East panto is the first thing they saw as a child and so many families come every year as their Christmas tradition. Each year over 11,000 school children come to our panto too.

“It’s also our biggest show - employing a wide range of freelancers, who may now have no work over the Christmas period.

“Panto means so much to our audiences, the artists and freelancers that put it together and to us as a building.

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“Despite the disappointment for this year, we are determined that we will have a brilliant panto in the making by Carl Miller and Robert Hyman next year and we can’t wait to share Red Riding Hood with our audiences in 2021.”

Indoor performances are currently not permitted under the Government’s coronavirus guidelines.

Ms Fall and Ms Lang said the theatre could only accommodate 25 per cent capacity with social distancing measures in place, which would “not only put us into further financial jeopardy, but would fail to give a heart-warming traditional panto experience for audiences and cast members”.

They added: “In light of the continuing pandemic and rules around social distancing – along with the cost of producing a show the size of panto – we cannot afford to take any risks that might jeopardise the future of our theatre, the people we work with or our community.”

The announcement of Theatre Royal’s postponement was made jointly along with three other venues - Hackney Empire, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.

Red Riding Hood will now be performed between Saturday, November 20 2021 and Saturday, January 8 2022.

Anyone who had already booked tickets will be contacted by the theatre shortly.

For more, go to stratfordeast.com or call the box office on 020 8534 0310.


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