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Everyman sad to cancel pantomime

Wednesday, 29th July, 2020 5:51pm

Oh no it’s not!

For the first time in three decades, there will be no pantomime performed in the Everyman this Christmas. The news was revealed yesterday afternoon. The show will not be viable due to Covid-19 public safety measures, including two metre social distancing measures, which would allow for a maximum of 85 people in the auditorium of The Everyman at one time, including the artists on stage.

While indoor gatherings are possible for up to 50 people currently, it is likely that this will increase from 10 August. Even so, the Everyman says it is unrealistic to successfully programme a show as complex as the annual pantomime under the two metre social distancing measures.

Sean Kelly, Executive Director of The Everyman, said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of our 2020 pantomime. This is the first time in three decades that there won’t be a panto on The Everyman stage at Christmas. We really wish we didn’t have to disappoint our audiences like this but panto is an extremely expensive undertaking and under the current restrictions it is simply not possible to go ahead.

“The panto represents 20 per cent of the theatre’s annual income and is also a vital source of employment for local performers and creatives so it’s a huge blow to a great many people. We are determined that our panto will return in 2021 and be more spectacular than ever.”

The cancellation has far-reaching implications as the panto provides annual employment for almost 100 people, including artists, creatives, musicians and crew - who are hugely reliant on the three month’s work.

The income created by the panto helps to subsidise the theatre’s non-commercial work, supporting artists and the development of new productions.

The cancellation will also be a disappointment to the 31,000 audience members that come to the pantomime at The Everyman each year.

Julie Kelleher, Artistic Director of The Everyman, added: “Panto is a tradition that is central to many people’s Christmas plans, and it’s a tradition we take great pride in upholding at The Everyman. It is joyful, comforting, and entertaining, which is everything you need at the darkest time of the year. It’s a source of huge disappointment to us, not to be able to provide that for families this year.”

CADA Performing Arts Academy has put on pantomimes at The Everyman for the last 25 years.

Catherine Mahon-Buckley, Director of CADA Performing Arts Academy and Producer of the annual pantomime at The Everyman, said: “While we are all in the same storm, not all of us are in the same boat. Pantomime is a huge part of Christmas tradition, where song, dance, joy, fun, and laughter, is all part of the performance.

“In my 26 years directing and producing the panto at The Everyman I have worked with incredible people both on stage and backstage. I am now fearful for the livelihoods of these people who have dedicated their skill and creativity in making magic on stage each year.

“But we live in hope. We will be back in 2021!”

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