London's Lyric Hammersmith postpones Aladdin pantomime to 2021/22 season
| By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels
Abu! We told you not to touch the forbidden treasure! It may seem like The Cave of Wonders has come crashing down on all of our holiday wishes, but the good news, at least, is that Aladdin will still come flying in by magic carpet ride next Christmas! The bad news? Well, some freelancers and theatre workers may really need your help!
After Chancellor Rishi Sunak disgracefully announced that the furlough scheme will not be extended for theatre employees and with the 1.57bn package not being paid out to venues until the early autumn, the postponement of the Aladdin pantomime should be the least of your worries. There are many people without work!
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Read more about the 2020 pantomime season below.
Aladdin Lyric panto postponed to next year
The pantomime season has been hit hard this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and delayed Government action. As a result, London's Lyric Hammersmith is the latest UK venue to announce that it will not be presenting its panto show this year.
The highly anticipated production of Aladdin at the Lyric Hammersmith in London will now run from 13 November 2021 until 2 January 2022. Ticketholders to the 2020/21 run need not worry, as their tickets will be automatically transferred to corresponding dates next year.
Oliver Dowden certainly to be on Santa's naughty list this year
The news comes after it was recently announced that festive shows staged by the country's largest panto producer Qdos Entertainment would enter consultations and/or be postponed.
Aladdin at the Lyric Hammersmith may not be a Qdos production, but its postponement certainly feels like the final nail in the coffin for fans of this British holiday tradition. A tradition that UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has seemingly willfully destroyed this year.
Will Father Christmas fill Dowden's stocking up with coal? Considering how many freelancers will go without work this year, and without adequate support from the UK Government no less, we can only hope this and more.
Other major London theatres postponed their Christmas 2020 pantomimes
The Lyric Hammersmith is not the only London venue to be cancelling its pantomime this year. Hackney Empire's Jack and the Beanstalk will now run from November 2021 to January 2022 with exact dates to be announced in due course.
Queen's Theatre Hornchurch has also postponed its panto production of Aladdin, which will now run from 25 November 2021 until 2 January 2022, while Theatre Royal Stratford East's Red Riding Hood will now run from 20 November 2021 to 8 January 2022.
2020/21 panto season not a complete loss...
Although families hoping to enjoy a cultural experience this Christmas can cross Aladdin 2020 off their list, the show is still expected to open next year.
What's more, some venues across the UK are announcing socially distanced pantomimes this year, including St Helens Theatre Royal, which will stage Beauty and the Beast with mandatory face masks, reduced capacity, temperature checks, pre-order drinks and snacks, and deep cleanings. Meanwhile, in Portsmouth, the King's Theatre will present Dick Whittington at a reduced seating capacity of just 400 (normally 1400).
So there is at least some hope that a London venue or two will throw together a panto this year, providing many unemployed theatre workers with much-needed work and theatregoers with some much-needed entertainment. All we've got to do is rub the magic lamp and wish for Genie to bring us a Christmas miracle.