THE Sunderland Empire is giving a special Christmas present to the city this year – a panto.
The theatre is making a return to tradition – oh yes it is – when it puts on a pantomime for the festive season.
For the last two years, the Empire has steered clear of tradition, staging Legally Blonde last year and White Christmas in 2010.
However, today, the Echo can reveal the theatre will once again be filled with Christmas cheer when Peter Pan – which was also the last panto to be staged there in 2009 – takes to the stage.
Ben Phillips, Sunderland Empire general manager, said: “As a huge fan of pantomime I can’t wait for Peter Pan to swoop down on to our stage this Christmas.
“Sunderland has been without a panto in recent years and it is with great pleasure that we welcome Peter Pan for the festivities.
“In many ways it is a gift to Sunderland Echo readers, who have greatly missed a Sunderland Empire panto.
“We promise the show will be awash with stars, fun and even the good old sing along for all to enjoy.”
The sparkling show will be produced by Martin Dodd for UK Productions in arrangement with Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity and Samuel French Ltd.
Peter Pan, adapted from the JM Barrie book, invites the audience to fly away on a magical journey to Sunderland’s Neverland with Peter and Wendy.
With evil action from panto baddie Captain Hook and his pirates, spectacular costumes, sets and effects, jokes, song and dance and lots of audience participation, there will be plenty of seasonal fun for everyone.
Ben added: “UK Productions regularly visit the theatre with sparkling productions such as 42nd Street and Beauty and the Beast, and Peter Pan will follow in their magical footsteps with a show that will not fail to delight.”
Tickets for Peter Pan go on sale to ATG Theatre Card holders today and general sale on Friday, June 8.
The show runs from December 13 to January 6.
Tickets cost between £10 and £25 and can be booked by phoning 0844 871 3022 or visiting www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.