New Wolsey unveils Snow Queen as online rock’n’roll panto

For several months it appeared that this Christmas would be without the thunder of drums and guitars playing power chords as the New Wolsey Theatre was forced to abandon its annual rock’n’roll panto but now all that has changed.

The New Wolsey’s artistic director and panto creator Peter Rowe has been experimenting with cameras and digital technology and has come up with a new interactive rock’n’roll panto which will be beamed live into people’s homes during the run-up to Christmas.

This year’s re-imagined rock’n’roll panto is going to be The Snow Queen and it is hoped that it will play to a limited, socially distanced audience in the theatre as well as people at home. But, even if the lockdown is extended beyond December 2, the show will still go on.

Peter Rowe said: “The Snow Queen will be much more than a show on stage with a camera pointed at it: this is an extremely ambitious blend of live action, animation, audience interaction, pre-recorded film and all the musical numbers you’d expect.

“Not only is this an incredibly ambitious production, we’ve raised our game to be even more accessible than ever before. All shows, online and live, will have captioning and audio description available as an option.

“Also, fans can be in the show. We’re inviting audiences to send us a recording of themselves dancing to Beyonce’s Love On Top. We’ll then do our best to include it in the show. We’re encouraging dressing up, silliness and plenty of showing off.

“We will also need to collect an item from someone watching the show at home during the show. With Covid-19 safety all carefully worked out, this item is essential to finishing the story…will we get it or will it all go hilariously wrong…!”

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As a special Christmas present to the community, the New Wolsey are giving away 400 free tickets as part of a ‘Carers’ Big Night In’ evening. Chief executive Sarah Holmes said: “We know they’ve done an extraordinary job of caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities over the last few months, often putting the needs of others before their own. We want to say a great big ‘Thank You’ to our carers. The 7pm performance of The Snow Queen on Tuesday December 22 is dedicated to Carers.

“If we’re permitted to open the auditorium, we’ll include auditorium seats in the offer, but we think most Carers will want to watch from the safety of home. We’re working on an invitation list, so if you know of anyone (individual or a care home) that would benefit from a great big New Wolsey hug in the form of a free ticket, please email”

The cast includes such New Wolsey favourites as James Haggie, Lucy Wells, Steve Simmonds and Adam Langstaff with Natasha Lewis as the eponymous Snow Queen. This year’s panto will include such iconic songs as: Let’s Get Loud, If I Had a Hammer, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), I Can See Clearly Now and Love on Top.

Tickets, from £25, are on sale for New Wolsey members from Friday November 6 (website only with tickets going on general sale on Saturday November 14.

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