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Sunderland Empire postpones panto until Christmas 2021 due to coronavirus concerns

It’s an annual tradition enjoyed by thousands of Wearside families, but it’s been confirmed that this year’s panto will not take place at Sunderland Empire.

By Katy Wheeler
Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 2:43 pm

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Miss Rory, left, who appeared in last year's Cinderella will appear in Snow White 2021
Miss Rory, left, who appeared in last year's Cinderella will appear in Snow White 2021

The performing arts industry has been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic, and there’s still no confirmed date as to when the Sunderland Empire will open its doors with performances suspended until at least November 27.

Now, it’s been announced that this year’s planned panto, Snow White, has had to be rescheduled for Christmas 2021.

It was announced earlier this year that the theatre would be staging the classic panto with last year’s Cinderella actors Miss Rory and Tom Whalley, with more cast announcements due closer to the time.

Tom Whalley, left, pictured here in last year's Cinderella will appear in next year's Snow White

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Marie Nixon, Theatre Director of Sunderland Empire, said: “With the current government guidance still unclear on when venues can open without social distancing, we’ve taken the decision to postpone Snow White until Christmas 2021.

"We’re delighted that Miss Rory and Tom Whalley are still able to join us next year. We’ll contact customers directly in due course to move their bookings on a year, they don’t need to take any action at this stage.”

All customers with tickets to Snow White will be contacted to move to the new dates in 2021/22.

Producer Martin Dodd said: “It is with deep sadness that we are having to make the decision to postpone Snow White until next year. The Empire’s audiences are some of the best in the country to play to and I know what a central part the pantomime plays in so many families’ Christmas.

"We are always so grateful that so many turn out year after year to support this fabulous theatre and our Christmas show. However, in light of the prevailing conditions we do not feel that we will be able to safely provide the high quality production that everybody has come to love and expect, and we would be doing everyone a disservice if we had to scale it back.

"Regrettably, therefore, together with the Empire Management, we have had to come to this decision. But we will be back next year, ‘oh, yes, we will!’, and we very much look forward to seeing you all again.”

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