YORK Theatre Royal’s famous pantomime is going on the road this year – as the company plans to take its show to every ward across the city this Christmas.
The move comes as the theatre confirmed it was postponing the planned production of Cinderella until next year amid the ongoing Covid restrictions.
Instead, the theatre will this year be producing three different shows as part of the Travelling Pantomime – performing in all 21 wards over November, December and January.
The pop-up show will be staged in a variety of locations from community halls to social clubs and sports centres, with all venues adhering to government guidance on coronavirus and social distancing.
The audience will vote each night on which performance they want – with the options of Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk or Aladdin.
Each performance will last between an hour and 90 minutes and will be performed by a cast of local actors who are “desperate to be able to perform again”.
And, the show will also include a special guest – entertainer and magician Josh Benson.
Theatre Royal director, Tom Bird, said the travelling pantomime is “the perfect way to help bring the community together this Christmas”.
He added: “We knew that due to coronavirus it was going to be impossible to stage Cinderella this year.
“It’s been a manic few months trying to think about how we can still bring the much-loved pantomime to the people of York.
“We wanted to make this year about the community. Everyone has been through a difficult year and hopefully we can help them celebrate Christmas in their own local area. Our travelling pantomime will be a rip-roaring Christmas treat for the whole family. Audiences can expect hilarity and chaos, music and magic as our amazing actors visit every corner of York.”
Tom added that the theatre is currently in discussions with venues across the city to host the shows – with the potential for a few shows to be outdoors too.
And, that the company hopes to perform most shows over the Christmas period.
Leading actor, Tom Benson, said: “I’m so chuffed to be able to play a part keeping York’s panto tradition alive, in a year where it feels like the majority of traditions have pretty much gone out the window.
“What’s really special for me personally, is the ‘full circle’ that’s happened, having actually started my professional career with York Theatre Royal, age 10, in their 2007 Panto Sinbad the Sailor.
“It’ll be so great to be back home for Christmas this year, finding a way to spread some panto joy, amongst the current craziness.”
Details of the venues, times and cast will be released in the coming weeks. Tickets will go on sale at £10 from November 5.
The postponed Cinderella panto will run from December 3, 2021, until January 2, 2022. The box office team will be in touch with ticket holders with options of moving tickets to next year, cancelling the booking or donating the ticket cost to the theatre.