The annual pantomime at Edinburgh’s King’s theatre is legendary. It is not only Scotland’s biggest and best-selling panto, with over 90,000 theatregoers attending each festive season, it is a Yuletide institution in the Capital. But not this year. The restrictions due to the Covid crisis mean that this festive production of Sleeping Beauty will be put to bed till next year. (No more sleep puns!)
King’s panto producer, Qdos Entertainment, announced on Monday 3 August, that the uncertainty around ongoing restrictions and maintaining social distancing means that it is not possible for Sleeping Beauty to go onstage as planned on 28 November 2020.
The announcement that this year’s planned production has been put on hold till November 2021 will be a tremendous loss not only financially but will be a great disappointment to regular attendees.
Chief Executive of Capital Theatres, Fiona Gibson, said, “The impact of the global pandemic has been devastating on all theatres, and it has become a reality that to keep everyone safe and the organisation secure, mounting a full-scale production without social distancing in the current cycle would be challenging.
“There are only 3 occasions in its 114 year history that a King’s panto has not taken place, the last time being 1968 ….so 2020 will be another landmark moment for all the wrong reasons! We know this will be as much of a blow to you, our fantastic and loyal audiences, as it is to both the cast who love bringing you such joy every year, and to our tremendous staff who love making it happen. For so many it is the cornerstone of their festive celebrations…”
Sleeping Beauty, that was last performed as the King’s pantomime in 1993, will now run from the 27 November 2021 until Sunday 16 January 2022 and will star King’s panto regulars, Allan Stewart, Andy Gray, Grant Stott and more recently Jordan Young. The well-known fairy tale will be the last pantomime to be staged at the King’s before the theatre undertakes its major refurbishment in the summer of 2022.
Edinburgh’s favourite panto baddie Grant Stott said, “Just like everyone who loves our annual Panto at The Kings Theatre Edinburgh, I am absolutely gutted at the prospect of no show this year – it will be my first Xmas away from the Kings since 1999. However, even baddies can be optimistic and I am already looking forward to staging Sleeping Beauty in 2021 – which, in the circumstances, now promises to be one of the most special Pantos ever staged at The Kings!”
Capital Theatre’s box office will be in touch with customers who have purchased or reserved tickets over the coming weeks to arrange for them to be automatically transferred to 2021. They are grateful to all those who have been able to take gift vouchers or donate their tickets rather than have refunds to help protect theatres for the future.
Capital Theatres, a registered Scottish charity (SCO18605) that supports access to the arts for everyone, asks those able that a donation is considered via their website.