Panto is back! Get ready for a 'socially distanced' production of Sleeping Beauty this Christmas

A socially distanced pantomime is being lined up by a theatre which wants people ‘to have something jolly to enjoy’.

Monday, 23rd November 2020, 4:49 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd November 2020, 4:50 pm
Ben-Ryan Davies who played Peter Pan at the Forum Theatre and is back for this year's production of Sleeping Beauty. Picture by FRANK REID

The Forum Theatre in Billingham is putting on a production of Sleeping Beauty and it will run from Saturday, December 19, to Sunday, January 3.

And while the show will contain all the traditional panto fun, it will be held as a safe, socially distanced event to meet pandemic restrictions.

Theatre manager Derek Cooper said: “It is about giving people something jolly to enjoy. Tickets are on sale now and we will be down to about 50 per cent occupancy with social distancing.”

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Ben-Ryan Davies with some of the cast in the 2018 production of Peter Pan.

Derek said many people have had it tough this year and ‘want something fun and traditional. There is nothing more traditional than panto.”

All tickets are £17 for the shows which have been described as having ‘audience-safe participation’.

Derek added: “We have had a Covid risk assessment which we have to have in place. We have had a socially distanced seating plan set up for us and seats are sold in pods of up to six people.”

"We have also done a full Zoom call with all of the cast to go through the basics.”

The 2017 pantomime at the Forum Theatre in Billingham with Ben-Ryan Davies, centre, playing Prince Charming.

The show will be performed in one act lasting around 1 hour 15 minutes, Customers can still buy refreshments within the theatre but there will not be an interval.

Customers can only book tickets for their own household and not extended households or groups.

All bookings will be socially distanced from each other with no more than six people per booking and face masks are compulsory (unless someone is exempt) and there will be hand sanitisers available throughout the theatre.

The venue will also be sanitised between each performance.

At the end of each performance, there will also be more exits available.

This year’s cast includes Ben-Ryan Davies as Prince George and who will be known to Forum panto fans from appearances including Peter Pan in 2018 and as Prince Charming in Cinderella in 207.

The dame will be Robert Squire as Carabosse. Liam Mellor plays Chester the Jester and Warren Donnelly stars as King Charles.

Princess Beauty will be performed by Ionica Adriana.

To find out more, contact 01642 552663 or visit here.

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