For theatre... online, non-professional, amateur
Pantoland at the Palladium – Mixed Feelings?

Pantoland at the Palladium – Mixed Feelings?

While today’s announcement from Qdos (detailing how the London Palladium is to host a limited three-week run of Pantoland at the Palladium over the festive period) marks a welcomed revival of the celebrated art-form during a year that has decimated the entire theatre sector… we still can’t help wondering if the move represents one rule for the professional sector and another for the amateurs?

We do realise that professional pantomimes all over the country have been cancelled and that means people’s livelihoods – but the fact that it’s taken a substantial amount of National Lottery money to financially cover the required empty seats does seem to suggest a source of income that amateur companies are simply not able to easily plug into.

Well, we are mere hobbyists after all!

…and if we’re mere hobbyists AND Risha Sunak really does hold the opinion that people in the performing arts should get a new job or retrain, then what chance do we really have!

Bearing in mind that audience members will still need to socially distance and wear face-coverings throughout, it will be surprising if many ‘families’ or children turn up. Then again, the annual Palladium production is something of an adult attraction and, historically, hasn’t played to a large proportion of children.

Amateur pantomimes and festive productions that genuinely do offer ‘family’ entertainment have seemingly been left high and dry… with further tightening of restrictions a very real danger.

Nevertheless, we should probably all look for our positive hats at a time when any attempts at returning to live theatre are to be commended.

Regarding the production at the Palladium itself, we note there isn’t a specific title being announced, so we presume the show will be more of a collection of set-pieces – possibly celebrating past performances and possibly letting the star names come up with some of their own routines.

Either way, Qdos and the Palladium panto WILL be lifting the festive curtain this year… and playing to about 25% of the Palladium’s actual capacity while conforming to the Government’s Covid-safe guidelines.

    Surrey’s ONLY TWO pantomimes this winter will be produced by Guildford Fringe Theatre Company

    Surrey’s ONLY TWO pantomimes this winter will be produced by Guildford Fringe Theatre Company

    Professional theatre producers Nick Wyschna and Charlotte Bateup from Guildford Fringe Theatre Company are busy preparing to deliver top-notch entertainment to Surrey residents this winter when they produce the county’s ONLY two* live pantomimes which have not been postponed (* latest figures published by British Theatre Guide

    Offering fun and laughter for all the family, the magical “tale as old as time” Beauty and the Beast will play The Borough Hall, Godalming, from 12 – 26 December. Distinctly for the grown-ups, D!CK The Adult Panto, will play The Back Room of The Star Inn, Guildford, from 25 November – 9 January. This will be the ninth Adult Panto for Guildford Fringe, following sell-out success in recent years.

    Actor Philip Day, who played Dame Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk in Godalming’s family panto last year, is delighted to be returning to play the Dame once more. He said: “Last year was such fun and I can’t wait to be working with the same production team – the best in the land! They ensure all the important ingredients are there – a hilarious, fast-paced script, energetic songs and dance routines, colourful costumes and scenery AND, this year, social distancing in the auditorium. So, rest assured Dads, I’m afraid I won’t be able to come and sit on your laps or dash through the auditorium! We are all kids at heart and I think we all need a good laugh, especially during these uncertain times. I can’t wait to get to grips with my Dame Dominique Derrière. She sounds like a bit of a diva but also a fun and friendly party girl who doesn’t mind getting down and dirty with the household chores as she tends to her master’s needs! To find her character, I think it’s necessary to start with a good bra. Get that right and everything falls into place!  If last year’s audiences are anything to go by, we’ll have them rolling in the aisles again with hilarity, fun and enthusiasm.”

    Each theatre venue will operate at a greatly reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. Face coverings will be mandatory. Groups bookings will allow a maximum of 6 people to sit together. For full details of health and safety measures, visit

    Producer Nick Wyschna said: “What a year 2020 has been! It makes me even more excited to be bringing Surrey’s only two pantomimes to Godalming and Guildford this year. I am so looking forward to making people smile and laugh… we could certainly all do with that! Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite childhood stories, it is so magical and the setting is just perfect in the historic town of Godalming! D!CK was the second adult panto I produced back in 2014 and I am over the moon to bring this brand new script by James Chalmers to Guildford. We are taking the safety of our audiences very seriously at this time. We are only selling 30% of the capacity of each venue so we can ensure social distancing throughout your visit. We will have a one-way system for entrance and exit and the venue will be cleaned in between every show. Our audiences will be able to arrive and feel relaxed so they can sit back in their bubble and enjoy our pantomimes!”

    To book for Beauty and the Beast, visit or telephone the Box Office on 01483 361101.  For D!CK The Adult Panto, visit or telephone the Box Office on 01483 361101.

    Beauty and the Beast 

    Dates: Saturday 12 – Saturday 26 December 2020

    Times: Varies – matinee and evening performances; see website or call the Box Office

    Running Time: 1hr 15 mins (no interval)

    Venue address: Godalming Borough Hall, The Burys, Godalming, GU7 1HY

    Tickets: £22 (£20 concessions) including booking fees. Book at or call 01483 361101.

    Category: Theatre, pantomimes, family shows, professional theatre

    Age guidance: suitable for all ages

    Access: There is disabled access throughout the venue. On Sunday 13 December 2020 at 4pm there will be a relaxed performance specifically adapted for those on the autism spectrum, individuals with sensory and communication disorders, those with learning disabilities and anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed environment. Tickets for this performance have been reduced to £15 and can purchased by calling the Box Office only.

    Website: | Instagram:

    Twitter: | Facebook:


    D!CK The Adult Pantomime 

    Dates: 25 November 2020 – 9 January 2021

    Times: Varies – see website or call the Box Office

    Running Time: approx. 1 hour with no interval

    Venue address: The Back Room of The Star Inn, Quarry Street, Guildford GU1 3TY

    Tickets: £19.50 including booking fees. Box Office: / 01483 361101

    Category: Theatre, pantomimes, adults only, professional theatre

    Age Guidance: strictly 18+ only

    Access: There is no step-free access to the venue.

    Website: | Instagram:

    Twitter: | Facebook:

    Greenwich Theatre’s Festive Season

    Greenwich Theatre’s Festive Season

    The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, A Christmas Carol & Comedy Club 4 Kids

    After postponing our annual Christmas pantomime, The Queen of Hearts, we are delighted to announce the return of Christmas spirit to Greenwich Theatre with a triple bill line-up!

    First up we have a thrilling festive adventure set in an alternative history of England. Our own, home-grown production of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, directed by our artistic director James Haddrell (The Jungle Book, Here), tells the story of two brave and determined girls as they fight against ferocious wolves and battle their way through snowy wastelands to defeat their very evil guardian, Miss Slighcarp.

    This exciting, fun-filled adaptation of Joan Aiken’s classic children’s novel, adapted by Russ Tunney, sees cousins Bonnie and Sylvia and their friend Simon the Goose-boy encountering a host of unforgettable characters as they discover that the wolves roaming the forests and fields outside may not be as dangerous as the wolfish adults plotting inside.

    A magical, musical, wintry treat, this socially distanced family production is the perfect way to celebrate the festive season in true theatrical style. Alongside the live performance, we are also offering audience members the opportunity to join members of the cast in an online, interactive experience set in the same wintry world, where children will be able to be part of a unique interactive adventure, all from the comfort of their own homes.

    Next, we welcome the triumphant return of European Arts Company’s socially distanced production of A Christmas Carol, a heart-warming production in the presence of the author himself.

    A Christmas Carol was the first public reading Dickens gave of his own work, enacting it over 150 times to a phenomenal reception. For a limited time only, join us as European Arts Company magically recreate Charles Dickens’s famous performance of his best-loved Christmas story. Enjoy a seasonal treat in the spirit of Christmas past, present and future.

    Finally, in this stellar line-up we are overjoyed to present Comedy Club 4 Kids. Since 2005, the Comedy Club 4 Kids has been getting the best family friendly stand-ups and sketch acts from the international circuit to do their thing for an audience of children (aged 6+) and their families. Join us this Christmas for some festive laughs for the whole family to enjoy.

    With the global pandemic closing theatres across the country, Greenwich Theatre has been overwhelmed by the support provided by its local audiences, alongside funding support from Arts Council England. Now, after mounting the ambitious six-month online programme Greenwich Connects, the team are delighted to be injecting some festive spirit into the heart of the community and welcoming audiences back to the venue. With Government guidelines changing daily, the team at Greenwich are dedicated to providing and implementing safety measures to ensure the safety of audience, staff and performers without taking away from the magic of theatre.

    James Haddrell, the theatre’s artistic and executive director, said: “We are delighted to have been among the first theatres to reopen our doors for live performance with shows resuming this month, and now to have found an alternative to the pantomime which sadly had to be postponed. Whilst it may not be viable to present our regular festive treat, I know that a trip to the theatre is key to so many families’ celebrations and I’m proud that at Greenwich Theatre we’ll be offering our own festive show alongside the eagerly awaited return of both European Arts Company and Comedy Club 4 Kids. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, presented in a brand new socially distanced production, is a thrilling adventure story that’s sure to delight the whole family this Christmas and fill the gap left by so many cancelled or postponed pantomimes.”

    Title: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, A Christmas Carol & Comedy Club 4 Kids

    Performance Dates: Wednesday, 9th December 2020 – Sunday, 3rd January 2021.

    Full dates online.

    Location: Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London SE10 8ES

    Box Office: Tickets are available from £8.50 at