Huge financial losses have meant that Norwich Theatre Royal’s annual pantomime has been postponed until Christmas 2021.
Dick Whittington and his Cat were due to be amusing festive audiences over the festive season but “with heavy hearts” the theatre has had to postpone.
Chief executive Stephen Crocker said: “We know this will be a huge disappointment to our loyal pantomime audience who look forward to this traditional Christmas family treat and this is what saddens us most.
“The huge financial losses we are currently experiencing due to an extended period of closure, as well as there having been no government support package for theatres, mean that we are no longer able to commit to such a large scale production because of its substantial up-front costs.”
He said that the covid-19 pandemic restrictions had made a huge dent in future sales for all shows, including for the pantomime, which was due to start in December.
“This makes the risk of staging the pantomime too great and it is clear from our audience surveys that the government’s early warning to avoid theatres and the prolonged wait for any re-opening plan has dented public confidence in returning to our venues,” he said.
“Our commitment to our audiences throughout the year, and especially at Christmas, is to deliver magical and brilliant experiences and we do not feel this would be possible in the current circumstances. To proceed would do a disservice to our audiences who have been so loyal and supportive at this unprecedented time.”
All current ticket holders will be contacted directly to transfer their tickets to an equivalent performance in 2021. The box office team is currently working reduced hours and remotely, so people are asked to wait to be contacted.
The new dates for the 2021 performances will be announced shortly.