In a season rocked by a pandemic, panto is heading to the National—and streaming sites. On top of its previously announced in-person performances, a film capture of Dick Whittington will be available to watch for free December 23–27.
Dick Whittington will be taped at National Theatre's newly configured Olivier theatre in front of a socially distant audience. On top of its in-person performances December 11–January 23, 2021, and the free stream, the film capture will be added to the new National Theatre at Home on-demand platform beginning January 11 for six weeks.
The Ned Bennett-helmed production was originally commissioned by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, where it premiered in 2018. Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s adaptation will be updated for 2020.
Starring in Dick Whittington are Melanie La Barrie as Bow Belles, Dickie Beau as Sarah, Amy Booth-Steel as Queen Rat, Laura Checkley as Mayor Pigeon, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings as Dick Whittington, Georgina Onuorah as Alice, and Cleve September as Tom Cat. Beth Hinton-Lever, Travis Kerry, Jaye Marshall, Ken Nguyen, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda, and Christopher Tendai round out the company.
Returning on the creative team for the family favorite are set and costume designer Georgia Lowe, lighting designer Jessica Hung Han Yun, and associate director Denzel Westley-Sanderson. The production also features choreography by Dannielle ‘Rhimes’ Lecointe, sound design by Paul Arditti, music by DJ Walde, music supervision by Marc Tritschler, and music direction with additional composition and arrangements by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell. Denzel Westley-Sanderson is associate director, Debbie Duru is associate set designer, Fiona Parker is associate costume designer, and Jackie Kibuka is assistant choreographer.
“Pantomime is an essential part of the living fabric of our nation, and it is devastating that so many theatres across the country have had no choice but to postpone their pantos this year because of the unprecedented financial impact of coronavirus,” said National Theatre Director Rufus Norris earlier this year. “We’ll do all we can to keep the flame alive: brilliant theatre artists will serve up a slice of joy to families on the South Bank, and we’ll be asking everyone to support their local theatres by booking ahead for their 2021 pantomimes. Of course, we hope that it will be possible for theatres to perform safely to fuller audiences long before then.”
Among the numerous safety measures the National will implement, in accordance with U.K. Government guidelines, are staggered arrival times, paperless tickets, pre-ordered drinks, required face coverings, and deeper cleaning and sanitzations.