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Birmingham Hippodrome postpones 2020 pantomime and closes until February 2021

Jason Donovan and Matt Slack will still be appearing in the 2021 rescheduled show

Birmingham Hippodrome
© Oosoom at English Wikipedia / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The Birmingham Hippodrome pantomime, described by producer Michael Harrison as 'the UK's biggest regional panto', has been postponed.

The news comes as the central Birmingham venue has decided to close until February 2021, cancelling its festive production of The Nutcracker performed by associate artists Birmingham Royal Ballet.

CEO Fiona Allan said today: "After much discussion and heartache, we are saddened to announce that Birmingham Hippodrome will not be staging live theatre productions in our main auditorium until 1 Feb 2021 at the earliest.

"We have spoken at length with both Qdos Entertainment and Birmingham Royal Ballet, exploring various scenarios for this year's pantomime, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and the annual performances of The Nutcracker. However, it is still not financially viable to host full-scale productions on our stage while social distancing remains in place.

"We are delighted to confirm that both Jason Donovan and Matt Slack will still be joining the cast of Goldilocks and the Three Bears for its rescheduled dates over Christmas in 2021.

"The Birmingham Hippodrome sales team will be contacting all ticket holders for both pantomime and The Nutcracker, along with other affected productions over the coming days.

"Whilst we continue to be unable to reopen our main auditorium for live performances, we are actively exploring other innovative and creative ways in which we can engage with our audiences and the people of the West Midlands during this time."

Earlier this year, the venue announced it planned to make at least half of its full-time employees redundant while the pandemic continues and performances are unable to go ahead.

Panto producer Qdos revealed earlier this week that, due to lack of clarity from the government, it is currently impossible to plan for pantomime productions without any certainty that they can go ahead.

Last week culture secretary Oliver Dowden announced that it may not be until November that venues will know when exactly they can recommence performances without social distancing.