The London Palladium will go ahead with its annual Christmas pantomime for a socially distanced audience this festive season.
Pantomime season is usually one of the largest sources of income for theatres, but has had to be pulled at venues across the country due to the pandemic.
However it was announced in October, that the Palladium would be going along with its panto performance, Pantoland, for a three week run over Christmas.
Dance troupe Diversity, Julian Clary, Beverley Knight and Nigel Havers will perform in the show, which has been described as a “sticking plaster” on the “big theatrical wound” caused by coronavirus.
Admitting that the show was not “a solution to the tragic situation our industry is in”, producer Michael Harrison said: “There is no doubt producing a show of this size and scale is a risk – but it is a risk we have to take.”
Audiences attending the show will be asked to socially distance, which has been made possible by a National Lottery initiative paying for empty seats.
The show going ahead will provide jobs to more than 200 theatre employees over Christmas, at a time when the cancellation of pantomimes is affecting staff at regional theatres across the country.
In September, Inverness’s Eden Court, the largest arts venue in the Scottish Highlands, said that pantomime ticket sales usually bring in a third of their annual income.
In postponing this year’s pantomime, Cinderella, the venue will lose £350,000 in revenue, with the jobs of 14 performers affected.
While theaters have been legally allowed to open since 15 August under measures introduced by the government, very few have done so. This is largely due to the loss in ticket sales while opening at limited capacity under social distancing measures.