St Helens Theatre Royal has changed its Christmas panto to make it more financially viable amid the ongoing Coronavirus uncertainty.
The theatre was due to present a lavish Cinderella with Birds of a Feather star Linda Robson as the Fairy Godmother.
But a continued lack of clarity on when live theatre can resume, along with what Covid-19 safe restrictions will be in place, has led Regal Entertainments – the company behind the theatre’s own shows – to swap Cinders for Beauty and the Beast.
Producers say the new show, running from December 5 to January 3, will fully adhere to government guidance with social distancing measures in place.
Changes will include a reduced capacity auditorium, temperature checks, wearing of face masks and pre-ordered drinks and confectionary, along with deep cleaning to ensure the venue is Covid safe.
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St Helens Theatre Royal manager Chantelle Nolan said: “This has been a very difficult decision to make, but we have to be guided by the government’s rules at this time and we can’t take the financial risk if we have to wait until November for a decision on whether we move away from socially distant shows, so changes have had to be made.
Social distancing will be observed in the audiorium
“We’ve now come up with an alternative Christmas show for St Helens, which will have all the high production values the customers have become used to.
“Beauty and The Beast has always been a firm St Helens favourite, and we’ll ensure it’s a fantastic, fully enjoyable and a safe festive experience that the whole family can enjoy.
“I’d also like to personally take this opportunity to thank all our customers for their continued support and loyalty through these very difficult times.”
People who have already bought tickets for Cinderella will be contacted by box office staff and are being given priority to reschedule their bookings before the shows go on general sale.