Hackney Theatre’s pantomime postponed

PUBLISHED: 15:13 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:26 12 August 2020

Tarinn Callender as Dick Whittington in the Hackney Empire panto last year. Picture: Robert Workman.

Tarinn Callender as Dick Whittington in the Hackney Empire panto last year. Picture: Robert Workman.

© Robert Workman

A Hackney theatre has announced its pantomime will be postponed until 2021.

Hackney Empire pantoHackney Empire panto

Hackney Empire on Mare Street will not be producing a show this year over uncertainty around the Covid-19 government guidelines for restarting public performances.

It joins other London theatres like the Lyric Hammersmith, Queen’s in Hornchurch and Royal Stratford East in its announcement to postpone pantomimes until next Christmas.

Yamin Choudury, Artistic Director at Hackney Empire and Executive Director Jo Hemmant thanked the public for its “passionate and tireless support” throughout the coronavirus pandemic .

They said in a joint statement: “Everyone involved in bringing our world-famous pantomime to Hackney is devastated.”

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Hackney Empire in December 2015.The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Hackney Empire in December 2015.

“Pantomimes are long and expensive to plan and produce, monopolising the minds, efforts and generosity of hundreds of people in the process.

“Writers, directors, composers and performers, designers, builders, technicians and stage managers, box office and front of house staff who greet you every single night for over 60 performances.”

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The London theatres mentioned are known for their community driven pantomimes and last year 145,000 people, including over 40,000 school children, came to watch the plays they put on.

Pantomimes provide opportunities for new talent to make professional debuts and they typically employ hundreds of freelance artists.

A spokesperson for the theatres said pantomimes have a significant financial impact on the establishments that produce them and the theatre industry as a whole.

Work on the shows would have normally begun at the start of August so, without an announced date from the government on when theatre performances can resume without social distancing, directors made the decision to postpone pantomimes this year.

“The numbers just don’t add up while uncertainty remains on reopening timing and restrictions,” said directors Yamin and Jo.

Despite making the difficult decision to postpone pantomimes this year Hackney Empire is working on a festive programme for December: “It will be on a smaller scale to our usual offering, but it will be just as magical; maybe fewer custard pies, but even more fairy dust!”

Hackney Empires production of Jack and The Beanstalk, meant to be performed this year, will not run from Novermber 2021 to January 2022.

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For more infroamtion on the pantomime click here

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