At the time of writing, the future of Panto Season 2020 is unknown. Some productions have already suffered the effects of Covid-19, whilst others continue to audition juvenile ensembles and announce cast members.
If the season does take to the stage, I personally am looking forward to a whole host of firsts: Humpty Dumpty at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, a first for Qdos Entertainment and the first professional staging of the title since York Theatre Royal in 2009; Snow White at Greenwich Theatre, a first for resident writer, director and Dame Andrew Pollard; Beauty and the Beast at Theatre Severn, a first for Evolution Productions starring regular Dame Brad Fitt, who will also write the Towngate Theatre, Basildon’s first Beauty and the Beast; Cinderella at Blackpool Opera House, the first pantomime at the venue since 1956. It will be interesting to see how the production fares considering the Grand Theatre, Blackpool with its loyal audience is situated less than a minute walk away.
Similarly, I’ll be keeping a keen eye on how the York Theatre Royal and Grand Opera House audiences evolve as their cultural offering changes and the public response to the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton’s Cinderella as the production moves in-house after many decades of Qdos Entertainment. Titles to look out for include Treasure Island at the Empire Theatre, Consett, Rapunzel at the Theatre, Chipping Norton and King Arthur at the Roses Theatre, Tewksbury with Beauty and the Beast steadily on the rise to make the Top 5.
Industry leaders suggest that decisions regarding Panto Season 2020 will be made during August and by then we should know whether Grimaldi’s catchphrase of “here we are again!” will ring true for another year.