DELPH’S Christmas pantomime has become an annual treat for Saddleworth audiences and beyond.
Tickets for the 2020 show – Dick Whittington- went on sale even before the final curtain had dropped on last year’s acclaimed adaptation of Sleeping Beauty.
It is still hoped the new production by the Big Tiny Theatre Company, scheduled between December 12-31, will take place.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden recently announced ‘panto season is key’ though many provincial pantos have been re-scheduled for 2021 or mothballed entirely.
And Michael Powis, promoter for Saddleworth Live together with Tim Newbold, explained: “It is by no means certain at this stage. The Big Tiny will make a decision in the coming weeks.”
Host venue the Millgate Theatre has been in lockdown since March with stakeholders, including Saddleworth Live, Saddleworth Players and Saddleworth Concerts Society, cancelling all productions.
“It has been impossible to be able to reschedule any of these shows or to book acts for the next season,” added Michael, who also confirmed the yearly Night of the Proms production in September has now been cancelled.
“This is a real disappointment to our local musical stars and the money they raise for the Millgate each year will be very much missed.
“While it is frustrating for us, it is a real tragedy for the artists whose livelihoods depend on theatre venues such as the Millgate Arts Centre.
“We have been forced to postpone our entire spring and summer season of professional performances including a new musical, leading names from the world of comedy and music, the popular Mikron theatre company and a special evening in the company of BBC Radio personalities, Mike Sweeney and Becky Want.
“Marsden’s Mikron Theatre Company has become a real favourite with Saddleworth audiences and we had been looking forward to both of their new plays this year.
“Instead, they have had to take the extremely difficult decision to cancel this year’s tour completely.
“As they prepare for their 50th anniversary next year, they are at risk of not being able to continue if they are unable to raise the £48,000 shortfall in their budget.
“We hope to be able to provide readers more information when we know more ourselves.”
• Find out more about Marsden’s Mikron Theatre Company’s appeal online: https://mikron.org.uk/appeal