Crossroads Live takes over Qdos Pantomimes

Published: 25 May 2021
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Michael Harrison and David Ian

One of the biggest international producers of musical theatre, Crossroads Live, which has offices in Los Angeles, London and Sydney, has acquired Qdos Pantomimes, the UK’s biggest panto producer which produces Christmas shows in 29 venues across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Each year it produces pantos at His Majesty’s (Aberdeen), Grand Opera House (Belfast), Birmingham Hippodrome, Alhambra (Bradford), Bristol Hippodrome, Churchill Theatre (Bromley), New Theatre (Cardiff), Lyceum (Crewe), Darlington Hippodrome, Orchard Theatre (Dartford), King’s (Edinburgh), King’s (Glasgow), Glasgow SEC, Swan (High Wycombe), New Theatre (Hull), Opera House (Manchester), Milton Keynes Theatre, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Plymouth Theatre Royal, Richmond Theatre, Mayflower (Southampton), Regent (Stoke), Grand (Swansea), New Wimbledon Theatre, New Victoria (Woking) and the Grand Opera House (York).

It also presents the only panto in London’s West End, at the London Palladium. It was Qdos which returned panto to the West End in 2016 after a 30-year absence with Cinderella, and in 2017 its production of Dick Whittington was the first panto ever to receive an Olivier Award.

This is Crossroad Live’s third acquisition since 2019 when it took over David Ian Productions. Then in 2020 it acquired Australian production company The Gordon Frost Organisation.

Among its current shows which will be touring soon are 9 to 5, The Book of Mormon, Waitress, Shrek and The Bodyguard. On Broadway, Crossroads Live is a co-producer of Mrs Doubtfire, Company and Almost Famous.

The new company, Crossroads Pantomimes, will be led by Crossroads Theatrical Group Chairman, David Ian, and former Qdos Pantomimes Managing Director Michael Harrison, who was born in Wallsend, as Chief Executive. Qdos founder and Chairman Nick Thomas MBE will step down.

“After our 39th pantomime season in 2019/20,” Thomas said, “Sandra and I decided it was time to find a new owner for Qdos Pantomimes. After discussions with Crossroads Live, we are delighted that David and Michael will be taking the business forward. Our Qdos Entertainment Group will be embarking on new adventures, and we will spend our first ‘non-pantomime’ Christmas somewhere in the sunshine!”

David Ian said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be working again with Michael. Crossroads Pantomimes is a natural development of our long-time producing relationship and the passion we both share for creating world class entertainment. We look forward to creating something very special for the UK theatre industry whilst staying true to the great tradition of British pantomime.”

Michael Harrison, who will continue as an independent producer with his own company, Michael Harrison Entertainment, added, “the creation of Crossroads Pantomimes marks an exciting next step in the evolution of pantomime, joining our unique experience as leading pantomime producers with the skill, resource and investment of Crossroads Live. Our operation will remain firmly rooted in the UK and will build on the long tradition of pantomime, but continue to push the genre forward, as we’ve done over the past two decades.”