York Theatre Royal has decided not to resume post-Christmas performances of its Travelling Pantomime, as coronavirus cases continue to rise rapidly in the city.
Executive director Tom Bird said: “It is with great regret we have decided that the pantomime will not resume for its post-Christmas performances.
“This has been a tough decision to make, but we feel it is the right one.
“I pay tribute to the whole of the York Theatre Royal team for producing so many performances under such extraordinary conditions, and their diligence and hard work is borne out by the fact that we have no recorded transmission of the virus at the pantomime.”
The decision comes on the eve of an announcement by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock as to whether York will be moved from Tier 2 ‘High’ to Tier 3 ‘Very High’. Theatre performances are forbidden in Tier 3 areas..
During December the Travelling Pantomime team took the show to very appreciative audiences in Tang Hall, Dunnington, Wigginton, Holgate, Clifton Moor, Elvington, Poppleton, Acomb, Carr Lane, Strensall, Copmanthorpe, Fulford, Heworth and Guildhall.
The aim was to visit every ward in the city. It was scheduled to play several post-Christmas performances this week.
Mr Bird said: “The theatre want to thank the brilliant audiences who have supported the pantomime in their local venues and City of York Council who have helped to distribute over 200 free tickets to families in need on the run-up to Christmas.”
The theatre’s box office staff will be in touch with ticket holders of cancelled performances in the next few days.
A theatre spokesman said the Theatre Royal pantomime will return with a “lavish, spectacular and hilarious” Cinderella in 2021.