Sleeping Beauty to rest for another year as Derby’s panto is postponed
Derby’s pantomime has joined the list of Christmas shows across the country which cannot go ahead this year following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sleeping Beauty, which was due to be performed at Derby Arena from 5 to 31 December, has now been postponed until 2021, due to continued uncertainty about when and how indoor theatre can resume.
Derby City Council held out for as long as possible before making the decision as the annual pantomime plays a key role in the city’s festive celebrations. Throughout the pandemic, the safety of the public, performers and staff has remained the priority.
Derby LIVE, the council’s arts and entertainment arm, and Derby-based production company Little Wolf Entertainment looked into staging Sleeping Beauty with full social distancing measures in place, but, like theatres up and down the country, found a pantomime on this scale would not be viable.
In addition, the Government had said it would not make a decision about when theatres can fully reopen, without social distancing measures in place, until the beginning of November at the earliest.
Councillor Robin Wood, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “We know a lot of families are going to be disappointed, and we share this disappointment too. We’ve held off announcing the postponement until now because we were always hopeful that the pantomime could go ahead in some form, but this has not proved possible. We will be back next year with the same fantastic show we’ve been planning for since last Christmas that everyone can enjoy safely.”
Morgan Brind and Alan Bowles, of Little Wolf Entertainment, said: "Obviously we're heartbroken to not be creating the annual Derby LIVE panto magic this Christmas but we are passionate about the shows we make and it has become increasingly clear that we wouldn’t be able to safely present a show of our usual size and spectacle.
“We know our wonderful audiences will understand why we are taking the difficult decision to postpone.
“We’re working with the fantastic sales and information team to ensure no one misses out and we hope audiences will choose to support the re-opening of live theatre by transferring existing bookings to an equivalent performance at the same price and the same seats.
“Our thanks go to the brilliant Derby LIVE team and the Council who have been hugely supportive producing partners throughout this difficult time.
“And judging by the look of our dame perhaps an extra few months of beauty sleep might not be such a bad idea - she’s got bags under her eyes you could carry shopping in!
“We can’t wait to reawaken next year and welcome you back with an even bigger and better show than before. We hope you’ll agree that some things really are worth waiting for… Oh yes they are!”
Customers who have bought tickets for this year’s pantomime will not have to do anything, as Derby LIVE’s Sales and Information Centre will contact them directly and their booking will be safe. Tickets will be automatically transferred to the corresponding date the following year but customers will have the chance to move to another date or get a refund if that doesn’t suit them. Our team will be very busy so we ask customers to be patient and wait until they hear from us by email, letter or phone.
Last year’s pantomime, Derby LIVE and Little Wolf Entertainment’s Peter Pan, was the most successful at Derby Arena yet, attracting more than 35,000 people, including over 16,000 children. It also raised £25,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital, through royalties and bucket collections during performances.
Sleeping Beauty will run from 10 December 2021 to 8 January 2022 with tickets kept at 2020 prices, from £14.75. Early bird discount, concessions, group, school and family tickets are available. To book, call the Sales and Information Centre on 01332 255800 or choose your seats online at derbylive.co.uk.
Derby Theatre have also announced today that their Christmas production of Aladdin has been postponed until Christmas 2021, but they will be presenting a socially distanced Christmas show for this year, The Little Mermaid, an uplifting underwater adventure perfect for ages 5 and over, which will go on sale from 10am on Friday 11 September.
Plans are now being made to celebrate the Christmas season in Derby in a way which makes everyone feel safe, and which makes the most of public spaces in the city, particularly building on the success of the Market Place as an outdoor eating area over the summer.