Stevenage Gordon Craig Theatre pantomime Aladdin postponed until 2021

PUBLISHED: 21:51 17 September 2020 | UPDATED: 21:51 17 September 2020

Potty Pierre (Aidan O'Neill), Prince Gallant (Alex Scott Fairley) and Dame Dorothea Derriere (Paul Laidlaw) in last year's pantomime Beauty and the Beast at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage. Picture: Martin Smith, Origin8Photography

Potty Pierre (Aidan O'Neill), Prince Gallant (Alex Scott Fairley) and Dame Dorothea Derriere (Paul Laidlaw) in last year's pantomime Beauty and the Beast at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage. Picture: Martin Smith, Origin8Photography

Martin Smith Origin8Photography

This year’s Gordon Craig Theatre pantomime in Stevenage has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Paul Laidlaw as Dame Dotty Derriere in last year's Gordon Craig Theatre pantomime Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Martin Smith, Origin8PhotographyPaul Laidlaw as Dame Dotty Derriere in last year's Gordon Craig Theatre pantomime Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Martin Smith, Origin8Photography

Creatives at the theatre in Lytton Way announced the news with a “heavy heart” this week.

Aladdin was due to be the 2020 festive treat at the Gordon Craig, with the panto running for two months and nearly 100 performances.

The magical tale will now be 2021’s panto at the GCT.

An update posted on the Gordon Craig Theatre’s Facebook page said: “Following the Government’s indication that it will be at least November before an announcement will be made as to when theatres may operate normally without distanced audiences, the resurgence of COVID-19 cases and in view of the current guidance surrounding theatrical productions; the Gordon Craig Theatre has made the extremely difficult decision to reschedule all events and performances up to and including January 31, 2021.

“Sadly, this includes the pinnacle of the theatre’s season, our pantomime, which this year was due to be Aladdin.

Beauty and the Beast starring Paul Laidlaw and Aidan O’Neill was last year’s award-winning panto at the Gordon Craig, attracting thousands of families and schoolchildren from across the county.

Paul Laidlaw and Aidan O’Neill were due to return in Jordan Productions’ Aladdin this Christmas.

The theatre’s statement continued: “Pantomime has always been at the very heart of the Gordon Craig, with almost 50,000 attendees and just under 100 performances each year the production remains one of (if not) the longest running pantomimes in the United Kingdom.

Potty Pierre (Aidan O'Neill), Prince Gallant (Alex Scott Fairley) and Dame Derriere (Paul Laidlaw) in 2019 pantomime Beauty and the Beast at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage. Picture: Martin Smith, Origin8PhotographyPotty Pierre (Aidan O'Neill), Prince Gallant (Alex Scott Fairley) and Dame Derriere (Paul Laidlaw) in 2019 pantomime Beauty and the Beast at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage. Picture: Martin Smith, Origin8Photography

“This success is down not only to you, our loyal audience, but the talent, hard work and determination of our various actors, dancers and musicians, our creative teams, dedicated GCT staff and, of course, our strong relationship with Jordan Productions who have worked tirelessly to produce the Gordon Craig pantomime for the last 10 years.

“Everyone’s safety is our primary concern and by making this decision we are playing our part in trying to keep everyone safe.”

The panto is now scheduled to take place from Friday, November 26, 2021 until Sunday, January 23, 2022.

Ticket holders will be able to switch to the corresponding date next year.

Dame Dotty Derriere (Paul Laidlaw) and Potty Pierre (Aidan O'Neill) smashing plates in last year's Stevenage pantomime Beauty and the Beast at the Gordon Craig Theatre. Picture: Martin Smith, Origin8PhotographyDame Dotty Derriere (Paul Laidlaw) and Potty Pierre (Aidan O'Neill) smashing plates in last year's Stevenage pantomime Beauty and the Beast at the Gordon Craig Theatre. Picture: Martin Smith, Origin8Photography

The GCT statement added: “The pandemic has had a significant impact on our operation. Most of our staff remain furloughed and the box office is still closed.

“However, our small team will soon begin the complicated process of contacting all those who had purchased or reserved tickets for Aladdin this year to offer the opportunity to transfer your booking to next year’s performance of Aladdin, a credit, an exchange to a different performance within the same run, or a full refund.

“Given the length of the run and the number of people concerned, we will be contacting bookers in stages to allow for a managed process and we respectfully ask you not to contact us in advance of receiving an email as to do so will impede the process for everyone.

“We were so looking forward to being able to bring some much-needed festive cheer to you all this Christmas.

Beauty (Grace Lancaster) and the ensemble in 2019 Stevenage pantomime Beauty and the Beast at the Gordon Craig Theatre. Picture: Martin Smith, Origin8PhotographyBeauty (Grace Lancaster) and the ensemble in 2019 Stevenage pantomime Beauty and the Beast at the Gordon Craig Theatre. Picture: Martin Smith, Origin8Photography

“The script had been written, the gags polished and the magic carpet hoovered and refuelled, but sadly despite all the panto-magic we could muster it just won’t be possible this year.

“However, as somebody once said, ‘We’ll have to do it again then, won’t we?’ and do it again, we will!”

Producers added: “It’ll be bigger, brighter, bolder and better than ever and we’ll all be raring to go and we very much hope that all of you will be here to lend your support, a clap, a cheer, (not to mention a boo and a hiss!) and put 2020 behind you.”

Aladdin will now be the 2021 Stevenage pantomime at the Gordon Craig Theatre.Aladdin will now be the 2021 Stevenage pantomime at the Gordon Craig Theatre.

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‍♂️ PANTOMIME UPDATE - ALADDIN ‍♂️ Following the Government's indication that it will be at least November before an announcement will be made as to when Theatres may operate normally without distanced audiences, the resurgence of Covid-19 cases and in view of the current guidance surrounding theatrical productions; the Gordon Craig Theatre has made the extremely difficult decision to reschedule all events and performances up to and including January 31st 2021. Sadly, this includes the pinnacle of the Theatre's season our pantomime, which this year was due to be Aladdin. Pantomime has always been at the very heart of the Gordon Craig, with almost 50,000 attendees and just under 100 performances each year the production remains one of (if not) the longest running pantomimes in the United Kingdom. This success is down not only to you, our loyal audience, but the talent, hard work and determination of our various actors, dancers and musicians, our creative teams, dedicated GCT staff and, of course, our strong relationship with Jordan Productions who have worked tirelessly to produce the Gordon Craig pantomime for the last 10 years. Everyone's safety is our primary concern and by making this decision we are playing our part in trying to keep everyone safe. The pandemic has had a significant impact on our operation. Most of our staff remain furloughed and the Box Office is still closed. However, our small team will soon begin the complicated process of contacting all those who had purchased or reserved tickets for Aladdin this year to offer the opportunity to transfer your booking to next year's performance of Aladdin, a credit, an exchange to a different performance within the same run, or a full refund. ❗️Given the length of the run and the number of people concerned, we will be contacting bookers in stages to allow for a managed process and we respectfully ask you not to contact us in advance of receiving an email as to do so will impede the process for everyone❗️ We were so looking forward to being able to bring some much needed festive cheer to you all this Christmas.

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