Panto is off but the show will go on

12 Aug 2020 10:30
Published by: Scott Callan

Bolton Albert Halls’ Christmas pantomime will not go ahead this winter as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – but the venue says it is looking forward to welcoming visitors back next year.

The “difficult decision” to cancel ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was jointly made by the theatre and production company Polka Dot Pantomimes.

The venue is now looking forward to reopening its doors in 2021, with an Easter pantomime ‘Peter Pan’ and other shows including An Evening with Sir Michael Parkinson.

Hilary Fairclough, Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Albert Halls, said the health and wellbeing of audiences, cast and crew had to come first.

She said: “This has been a difficult decision, but given the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and the need to prioritise everyone’s health and safety, it’s just not possible for the pantomime to go ahead.

“Of course, we understand it’s a Christmas highlight and families will be disappointed. We would want to deliver a production to the high standard our customers have come to expect, and we feel we would be doing a disservice to our audiences to press ahead this year.

“This seems like the most sensible option, but rest assured a pantomime will be back and we already have a programme of shows we are looking forward to next year.”

Helen Wright, from Polka Dot Pantomimes, added: “We believe that you need to experience a pantomime in a packed auditorium with a large audience full of families and friends who can interact with the performers on stage, as well as a company who are able to work in close proximity to one another in the all-singing, all-dancing style that our pantos have become synonymous with - that is the beauty and tradition of pantomime.


“If we are unable to achieve that this year then we would not be doing the art form justice and would be short-changing our audiences. Therefore, postponing Beauty and the Beast until next year feels like the most sensible, fair and safe option.”

Anyone who has booked tickets for Beauty and the Beast will be contacted by Quay Tickets.

A provisional programme of shows has been booked in for 2021.

Easter pantomime ‘Peter Pan’ will be on at the Albert Halls on April 15 and 16. The cast includes Coronation Street and Dancing on Ice star Steven Arnold as Captain Hook.

Other highlights include ‘By The Waters Of Liverpool’ at the venue from April 1 to 3.

Adapted from Helen Forrester’s million-selling book, the production is a period drama set in the 1930s. Helen is sixteen years old and fighting a bitter battle with her parents for the right to educate herself and go out to work.

‘An Evening with Sir Michael Parkinson’ is set for April 11 - celebrating the life and career of a man who has interviewed more than 2000 of the most important cultural figures of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The Albert Halls will be undertaking risk assessments and putting in place necessary safety measures to enable productions to go ahead.

For more information on all shows and to book, visit:


You may be interested in