Over the border: Towngate Panto set to return next year

THE Towngate Theatre, Basildon have announced that their pantomime for 2020, Beauty and the Beast, will be postponed until 2021.

Simon Scott-Pearce, Theatre Manager said: “Our pantomime plays a big part of the festive celebrations for thousands of our loyal customers, and it is with a heavy heart that we are unable to bring the Towngate’s panto magic to ‘Basildonia’ this year. After many weeks and months of trying to make panto 2020-21 viable under the government’s current guidelines for live performances in theatres, unfortunately we have come to the heart-breaking conclusion that it is just not possible this year. The health and safety of our audiences and the Towngate staff are of paramount importance, and therefore we have no alternative option but to postpone.

“We would like to take this time to thank all our customers in advance for their understanding and patience as our team work through the process of transferring all bookings to the new equivalent dates. Christmas 2021 might seem rather far away, but we are already predicting that demand will be even higher than ever before. Therefore we would advise you to keep your booking to avoid missing out on your first choice of seats and dates. Whilst we are unable to be a part of your Christmas Holiday traditions this year, we can’t wait to welcome you back for more magical panto fun in 2021.”

All bookings for Beauty and the Beast 2020 will be transferred across to the closest equivalent performance in 2021-22; all customers (with an email address on their account) will receive new E-Tickets within the next few weeks. Beauty and the Beast 2021-22 will be back on general sale shortly, it will be announced on the Towngate Theatre’s website and social media channels when tickets are available to purchase online again.

Basildon’s panto star, Simon Fielding, said: “It’s a massive blow to not bring to you all panto at the Towngate this Christmas. We’ve been working hard on our version of Beauty and the Beast since January and already have a hilarious script, amazing song choices, tons of surprises and possibly the most magical Ballroom scene you could ever wish for. I know when we bring this spectacular pantomime to you next year, it will be the most beautiful and exciting production and I can’t wait to be with you all again.

Chairman of Basildon Council’s Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee Councillor David Harrison added: “Our pantomimes have had huge success for many years now and this will come as a bitter blow for all those who enjoy them. The good news is that Beauty and the Beast is already in the diary for next year. The safety of our audiences always has to be our number one priority and I am sure the public will understand the reasons for the postponement.”

For anyone with a booking for Beauty and the Beast 2020 that would like to discuss the options available, the Box Office team can be reached on towngateboxoffice@basildon.gov.uk, Monday-Friday from 10am till 4pm.

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