Scarborough-based company Qdos starts consultation over this year's pantomimes after government's lack of guidance over live shows

Scarborough-based pantomime giant Qdos has taken a step closer to cancelling its shows for this year.

Faye Tozer and Billy Pearce in Snow White at the Bradford Alhambra last year
Faye Tozer and Billy Pearce in Snow White at the Bradford Alhambra last year

All of its 34 festive productions are in jeopardy following inaction from the Government.

The producer said on its website while it was not “immediately announcing the postponement of all shows”, it had begun consultations with all its partner theatres about the viability of running productions this year.

It comes as the deadline of August 3 was missed by the Government. The date was set by the company as the latest it would need to know theatres can fully reopen by in order to plan productions for Christmas.

Qdos Pantomimes co-owner Michael Harrison has previously said August 3 is the cut off for such a date and without it pantomimes look unlikely.

In a statement, the company said: “We had been very clear that we required clarity from the Government regarding the reopening of theatres by today, August 3, in order for our pantomime season as we know it to take place.”

Last week, culture secretary Oliver Dowden told Radio 4’s Today programme a full reopening date was not likely before November at the earliest.

Qdos said: “Based on the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s reiteration last week that the Government will not be providing guidance on theatres operating without social distancing until November, we are left with no choice but to begin the consultation process with our partner theatres about the viability of each show. This is a complex process and will take several weeks to complete.”

It said the plans would be announced by individual theatres and communicated to ticket holders in due course.

The lack of pantomime in schedules would be devastating for theatres across the UK, with the productions providing a large chunk of their revenue, often enabling them to stage other productions throughout the year.

Qdos planned pantos include Billy Pearce in Sleeping Beauty at the Bradford Alhambra; John Barrowman in Snow White at the Bristol Hippodrome; Craig Revel Horwood and Debbie McGee at the Mayflower, Southampton and Shane Richie in Dick Whittington at the New Wimbledon Theatre.

The Scarborough Spa, Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough has yet to announce its seasonal show plans.

The YMCA in Scarborough and Whitby Pavilion usually hosts an amateur pantomime productions. Neither have confirmed plans.

Bridlington Spa says its pantomime The Adventures of Peter Pan starring Collabro singer Michael Auger will go ahead.

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