SUNDERLAND’S oldest community theatre is not losing any sleep over the return of the Empire panto.
In the past two years, the Empire’s hiatus from the panto game has seen sales rocket at the Royalty Theatre.
But bosses at the amateur theatre, off Chester Road, say this year’s show, Sleeping Beauty, is already proving successful.
“Some performances sold out back in October,” said director Jeff Page.
“We are not in competition with the Empire.
“We have our regular audience that come along and we have a brilliant show.
“We don’t have the lavish effects of an Empire pantomime, but we have a good, honest panto for all the family.”
The Empire caused controversy when it chose to ditch its traditional panto for productions of White Christmas and Legally Blonde in 2010 and 2011.
But earlier this year the High Street West theatre announced it would stage Peter Pan from December 13 to January 6.
The Royalty Theatre’s fairy tale production will run from December 6 to 16.
Jeff added: “We chose this pantomime because we wanted to do a traditional show.
“We read a number of scripts and this one ticked all the boxes for us.
“It’s got all the elements of the traditional family pantomime: the dame, the comedy boys, the beautiful princess and the gallant prince.”
Jeff, who is directing the show with Denise Page, added: “Rehearsals are in full swing for the show. We have a brilliant cast.”
For a taster of Sleeping Beauty, the cast will be in The Bridges shopping centre from noon to 2pm on November 24, performing songs from the show.
l Tickets can be bought online from.royaltytheatre.co.uk. They are also available from the Tourist Information Centre, on 553 2000.
Or, if there are seats left, tickets can be bought on the door.
Admission is £8 for all Royalty shows or £6.50 concessions
NORMAN Robbins’ new version of this time-honoured fable recounts the tale Princess Aurora, who, cursed by the wicked fairy Carabosse, sleeps for a hundred years until awoken with a kiss by a handsome young prince.
Good fairy Azuriel, court jester Tickles, Dame Amonia Goodbody, and hilarious heralds Shout and Bawl, face a race against time to save the Princess, and ensure her happy ending with dashing Prince Valiant.
The show will run for twelve performances with a mixture of evening and matinee performances.