As panto season comes to an end, Britain’s theatres are counting the cost of another Christmas wrecked by Covid, with cancelled shows decimating income during a traditionally lucrative period.
My colleague and the Guardian’s stage editor, Chris Wiegand, spoke to the cast and crew who have been lighting up Britain’s theatres – but are now faced with eye-watering losses.
York Theatre Royal’s Cinderella – whose star and understudy both had to self-isolate – cancelled 12 performances with an estimated loss of up to £200,000. Theatr Clwyd’s Beauty and the Beast achieved ticket sales comparable to pre-Covid times but the Welsh government’s Covid restrictions, introduced on Boxing Day, led the venue to cancel all remaining performances, worth an estimated £500,000.
At Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph theatre, almost half of Jack and the Beanstalk’s run was lost because of coronavirus cases in the company; now the theatre hopes to attract viewers to an online version this month.
At Liverpool Everyman, Robin Hood’s first week was cancelled because Covid cases prevented the set from being supplied in time. An additional 15 shows were lost owing to cast and crew illness. “If we get through to Saturday, we’ll have delivered 50 shows out of a planned 71,” said its CEO, Mark Da Vanzo. “That’s pretty good going considering everything we’ve had to face with Omicron and the isolation rules.” The cast included two “swing” performers, who fill in for other roles when required, and an understudy was available to cover. Without them, “we’d have lost even more shows”, said Da Vanzo. “Once Covid got into the company, it was very hard to stop it transmitting.”
For more on the Covid-battered landscape of British theatre:
And to find out more about what it’s like to be working in pantomimes right now, listen to our Today in Focus podcast episode from before Christmas:
Source : https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2022/jan/14/covid-live-news-poorer-nations-forced-to-reject-100m-near-expired-coronavirus-vaccines-spain-to-offer-fourth-dose-to-vulnerable?page=with:block-61e186c88f0838cf9ed78527&filterKeyEvents=false411