Oh yes, it is! Seaside panto to go ahead despite Covid-19
- Credit: Denise Brady Photography
You might imagine the very idea of a pantomime going ahead in 2020 would attract cries of: “Oh no, it isn’t!”
But Southwold Arts Centre’s festive celebration is one of few to entertain Suffolk audiences this Christmas – after cast and crew said they “put our heart and soul into making sure this show goes ahead”.
Organisers said putting on Santa’s Christmas Show between December 22 and 29 at the coastal resort venue “has not been easy to say the least”.
As well as the arts centre taking rigorous steps to ensure Covid-secure compliance and win Visit England’s Good to Go! accreditation, rehearsals have also been affected by changing rules and regulations.
Performances will not be easy, as social distancing rules require a reduced cast and backstage crew.
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Audience members will also be required to wear face masks for the show, which tells the story of Santa’s Elves chaotically preparing for Christmas Eve.
Co-writer and pantomime Dame Gavin Dean said: “With a reduced cast, we are all working double on stage - and, not to forget, as there is no real room for stage crew, we are also picking up backstage and tech work as well.”
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However, he added: “There is no doubt we have put our heart and soul into making sure this show goes ahead. It has not been easy to say the least.
“With regulations involving rehearsals and the production changing on a regular basis we have had to invest so much time into getting the show ready.
“This really does go to show how skilled performers are, that even in the most adverse conditions we are still able to produce a show that we are proud to be a part of.”
The show’s comic, Suffolk magician Josh Pickering, added: “Yes, it has been a rocky road, but I can say that it is all been completely worth it.
“The show has some great comic moments, a little magic and Santa Claus himself. What more could you ask for this Christmas?
“This is a wonderful chance to escape reality for a bit and to take home that warm buzz that only comes from live entertainment.”
Southwold Arts Centre’s Covid-19 safety measures include socially distanced queuing, remote temperature check on entry, a one-way system and hand sanitisers.
The venue is also thoroughly ventilated and cleaned before shows, with rows of seats spaces by one metre and two empty seats left between each family group.
All seats are £12.50. They are on sale at Southwold Arts Centre's website.
Alternatively, call the box office on 01502 722572.