Norwich panto rehearsals under way with boss ready to adapt to Covid rules

The cast of the Dick Whittington and his Cat panto running at Norwich Theatre Royal.

The cast of the Dick Whittington and his Cat panto, which is running at Norwich Theatre Royal this Christmas. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Rehearsals are now in full swing for the Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich Playhouse pantos.

And the boss of both venues is confident that Covid will not dampen the Christmas magic. 

Norwich Theatre is running two pantos for the festive season, with family show Dick Whittington and his Cat at the Theatre Royal and Robin Good: The Politico-Panto for teens and adults at the Playhouse. 

Dance rehearsals for the Dick Whittington pantomime. 

Dance rehearsals for the Dick Whittington pantomime. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Both casts are now busy rehearsing the shows on different floors of the Stage Two building, also run by the organisation, with both in separate bubbles.

While the press conference on Saturday about rising cases of the Omicron Covid variant did not specifically mention theatres, with masks now mandatory on public transport and in shops, the team is geared up for any changes.

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive.

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre chief executive, said: "We will carry on as we have been doing and encourage people to wear masks in our buildings.

"From adapting for two years with Interlude and A Right Royal Christmas [outdoor season and 2020's socially distanced shows] we can bend and flex if there are further changes.

"We all need that normality and comfort blanket of Christmas this year." 

Gyasi Sheppy (Dick Whittington) and Jarnéia Richard-Noel (Alice Fitzwarren) rehearsing for Dick Whittington and his Cat. 

Gyasi Sheppy (Dick Whittington) and Jarnéia Richard-Noel (Alice Fitzwarren) rehearsing for Dick Whittington and his Cat. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

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Dick Whittington and his Cat runs from December 11 until January 9 2022 and stars The Bill's Graham Cole as Alderman Fitzwarren, comedian and actor Joe Tracini as Tommy the Cat and Cutting It's Siân Reeves as Queen Rat.

The Bill's Graham Cole plays Alderman Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington and his Cat. 

The Bill's Graham Cole plays Alderman Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington and his Cat. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Mr Cole, who recently moved to Norfolk, said: "We need panto as even with this new variant we are social animals so our audiences are going to be so up for it this year."

Mr Tracini said: "It can be the start of everyone's Christmas or New Year where you can have a laugh with other people that are also pleased not to be stuck at home." 

The cast of Robin Good: The Politico-Panto running at the Norwich Playhouse. 

The cast of Robin Good: The Politico-Panto, which is running at the Norwich Playhouse. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Alternative panto Robin Good runs at the Playhouse from December 8 to 19 and will see the title character trying to stop Norfolk becoming a playground for the super-rich.

Will Arundell, who plays the Sherriff of Norwich and grew up in the city, said: "It is absolutely brilliant fun with four people playing every role in a panto and about 20 different instruments."

Will Arundell plays the Sherriff of Norwich in Robin Good. 

Will Arundell plays the Sherriff of Norwich in Robin Good. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Buy tickets for both shows at norwichtheatre.org

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