Qdos Pantomimes starts consultation process for Christmas 2020 season

Updated on 11 August 2020

Qdos Entertainment, the largest producer of pantomimes in the UK and a major employer for those working in the performing arts industry during Christmas time, has announced that it will "begin the consultation process with partner theatres about the viability of each show." The news comes as the UK Government have once again failed to provide clarification on when indoor performances without social distancing can resume after Qdos gave them a deadline of 3 August.

34 Qdos panto productions to face consultations

Qdos made it abundantly clear early last month that unless the Government provided more clarity, many of their shows would have to face postponement, socially distanced performances, or cancellations altogether. The production company noted that the consultations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Last week, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden declared that it may take until November before venues will know when shows without social distancing could resume. This would mean that many theatres will have almost no time to prepare for the 2020 Christmas pantomime season this year.

The following 34 pantos across the UK may be affected:

  • Beauty and the Beast - Aberdeen (His Majesty's Theatre)
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears - Belfast (Grand Opera House), Birmingham (Hippodrome)
  • Sleeping Beauty - Bradford (Alhambra Theatre), Bromley (Churchill Theatre), Crewe (Lyceum Theatre), Edinburgh (King's Theatre), High Wycombe (Wycombe Swan)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Bristol (Hippodrome), Hull (Hull New Theatre), Swansea (Grand Theatre), Woking (New Victoria Theatre)
  • Aladdin - Cardiff (New Theatre), Glasgow SEC (Scottish Event Campus Armadillo), Llandudno (Venue Cymru), Manchester (Opera House), Plymouth (Theatre Royal Plymouth)
  • Cinderella - Darlington (Hippodrome), Glasgow (King's Theatre), Richmond (Richmond Theatre), Southampton (Mayflower Theatre), Southend-on-Sea in Essex (Cliffs Pavillion), Stoke-on-Trent (Regent Theatre)
  • Jack and the Beanstock - Dartford (Orchard Theatre), Hayes (Beck Theatre), Milton Keynes (Milton Keynes Theatre), Swindon (Wyvern Theatre)
  • Humpty Dumpty - Newcastle (Theatre Royal)
  • Dick Whittington - Northampton (Royal and Derngate), Wimbledon (New Wimbledon Theatre)
  • Robin Hood - Hastings (White Rock Theatre), Nottingham (Theatre Royal)
  • Dick Turpin Rides Again - York (Grand Opera House)
  • To be announced - London

Is disaster on the horizon for UK theatre?

Total cancellations and even socially distanced panto performances could spell disaster for the industry. Some venues earn up to 40 per cent of their revenue from their annual pantomimes, which they use to help fund other productions throughout the year. An absence of panto could mean an absence of creative innovation, and will most certainly lead to mass unemployment. So far, Tron Theatre and Norwich Theatre Royal have already postponed their shows as the cultural war amidst the pandemic rages on.

Qdos: Plans or postponements to be announced by individual venues

Read Qdos' statement on its pantomime shows below:

"We had been very clear that we required clarity from the Government regarding the re-opening of theatres by today, Monday 3 August, in order for our pantomime season as we know it to take place.

"Based on the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's reiteration last week that the Government won't be providing further guidance on theatres operating without social distancing until November at the earliest we are left with no choice but to begin the consultation process with our partner theatres about the viability of each show. This is a complex process and will take several weeks to complete.

"We are not immediately announcing the postponement of all shows, however plans will be announced by individual theatres and communicated to ticket holders in due course."

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.