PETER Pan is preparing to take his final flight in Sunderland.
For the past month, audiences have been enjoying the return of a traditional pantomime to the Sunderland Empire after a two-year break from the panto scene.
It’s proved a popular return with the thousands of families who flocked to the show – but it’s unclear yet whether panto will return for Christmas 2013 as overall ticket sales were not as strong as the theatre hoped.
Ben Phillips, general manager at the Sunderland Empire, said: “We are delighted at the response Peter Pan has received from audiences. The show opened to rave reviews and has played to standing ovations at almost every performance.
“Despite the fantastic reaction and competitive ticket prices, bringing pantomime back to the city this year has not been as popular as we would have hoped.”
Peter Pan, played by CBeebies favourite Katy Ashworth, and the rest of the cast, including Emmerdale bad boy Tom Lister as Captain Hook and children’s TV star Sy Thomas as Smee, will take their final bow in the show tomorrow.
Peter Pan, adapted from the JM Barrie book, invited the audience to fly away on a magical journey to Sunderland’s Neverland with Peter and Wendy.
The remaining performances are today at 2.30pm and 7pm and at 1pm tomorrow.
The return of the pantomime to the High Street West venue was celebrated when it was announced in June last year. The tradition had been ditched in 2010 for White Christmas and in 2011 for Legally Blonde. Peter Pan was also the last pantomime to be staged at the theatre in 2009.
Today also sees the closure of Sleeping Beauty at Durham’s Gala Theatre, but there are still pantomimes left to run in the region.
Dryburn Theatrical Workshop will stage Aladdin at Park View Theatre Complex in Chester-le-Street from Wednesday until January 13.
Washington Theatre Group is also gearing up to stage its annual panto when it brings to life the tale of Rapunzel.
It will host its show at Arts Centre Washington from Friday until January 26.
Tickets are £4 from www.washingtontheatregroup.co.uk. Tel. 219 3455 or from the arts centre reception.
Tickets, priced £10-£25, are still available for Peter Pan. Tel. 0844 871 3022 or book online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland