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Christmas is cancelled as Ipswich Regent postpones panto

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:01 19 August 2020

No genie of the lamp can save this year's panto at the Ipswich Regent. Enchanted Entertainment's 2015 pantomime Aladdin. Photo: Paul Clapp

No genie of the lamp can save this year's panto at the Ipswich Regent. Enchanted Entertainment's 2015 pantomime Aladdin. Photo: Paul Clapp

Paul Clapp

Even the Genie of the Lamp can’t save Aladdin, this year’s pantomime at the Ipswich Regent, as theatre bosses have announced that their annual Christmas extravaganza has fallen victim to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Enchanted Entertainment's previous production of Aladdin at the Ipswich Regent in 2015. This year's panto has been postponed until 2021. Photo: Paul ClappEnchanted Entertainment's previous production of Aladdin at the Ipswich Regent in 2015. This year's panto has been postponed until 2021. Photo: Paul Clapp

Theatre bosses said that staging the show would have been one wish too many for the seemingly all-powerful magical spirit. A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council, who run the 1500-seat venue, said that they were devastated that this year’s show will not go on.

“We’re very sorry that we have had to postpone this year’s panto - Aladdin – for a year until 2021. Along with Enchanted Entertainment, we have made this decision because of the impact of coronavirus. We don’t yet know when social distancing and other restrictions will be removed. We have had to make the same decision as many other theatres as the panto would not be viable.”

Sarah Barber, portfolio holder for the town centre, said: “We are really sorry that we are unable to stage the pantomime this year as we realise that so many families really look forward to it and it forms an important part of Christmas.

Mike McClean, centre, the only cast member confirmed for this year's show as he appeared in last year's panto Cinderella. Picture: LUCY TAYLORMike McClean, centre, the only cast member confirmed for this year's show as he appeared in last year's panto Cinderella. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

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“It’s a decision that we haven’t taken lightly but the safety of our audiences as well as the cast and crew and theatre staff must come first.”

She says that pantomime is an important time of year for all theatres and a long and successful run over Christmas pays the bills for much of the year. “While we can’t offer the Regent a blank cheque, I can say that the council is fully committed to supporting the theatre and we hope to have it re-opened as soon as possible.”

All fun with the panto dames at The Ipswich Regent is being postponed until 2021 because of the pandemic restrictions   Picture: LUCY TAYLORAll fun with the panto dames at The Ipswich Regent is being postponed until 2021 because of the pandemic restrictions Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Apart from comic regular Mike McClean no other casting decisions had been made prior to lockdown coming into force in March. This would have been the tenth year that panto producers Enchanted Entertainment had staged a large-scale panto at the town centre theatre.

Ipswich Regent staff are asking audience members who have already booked tickets not to contact the theatre. From Monday September 7 box office staff will contact customers with tickets to offer them options. Customers can transfer tickets to the 2021 Easter Panto, or the 2021 Aladdin Christmas pantomime, or transfer the value of those tickets to another show. They can also get a refund.

No requests can be processed before September 7 so customers should wait for their email (or phone call) which will have full details.

Aladdin was due to open at the Ipswich Regent Theatre on Wednesday December 16 2020 and run until Saturday January 2 2021.


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