Theatres across the U.K. remain, for the most part, closed due to the coronavirus pandemic—and those that have reopened or will in the near future can only do so under strict social distancing guidelines. Still, some theatres across the country have found a way to offer a holiday tradition through the help of The National Lottery.
The London Palladium will offer Pantoland at the Palladium December 12–January 3, 2021. The cast will include Julian Clary, Beverly Knight (who headlined a pilot concert to reopen the venue this past summer), Charlie Stemp, Jac Yarrow, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot, and Ashley Banjo & Diversity.
The presentation will include a seating configuration that ensures proper social distance protocols, but those empty seats are not entirely lost. The National Lottery will buy seats that need to remain unfilled, alleviating the financial strain of producing an indoor, in-person event under current restrictions. The state-franchised program will also implement this practice in additional theatres across the country, with venues to be confirmed shortly. A portion of tickets will be distributed for free to National Lottery players.
“The production is made possible by the sheer goodwill, determination, and courage of so many people—thanks to them over 200 people will now have jobs over Christmas,” says Pantoland director and producer Michael Harrison.
The London engagement will also feature choreography by Karen Bruce, sets by Ian Westbrook, costumes by Hugh Durrant, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Gareth Owen, and original music and orchestrations by Gary Hind.