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Central Manchester will get a Christmas panto

Central Manchester is to have a major panto this Christmas after all.

Manchester Opera House will run a production of Sleeping Beauty from December 12-January 3, though no other details have yet been revealed.

The new, socially-distanced panto will be the theatre’s first live show in nine months, and comes courtesy - like several other pantos this year - of the National Lottery’s so-called "Operation Sleeping Beauty", which will buy seats for certain major commercial pantos that theatres can’t sell under the social distancing guidelines, thus making those shows more financially viable.

The news is a turn-round for the Manchester venue, which only two days ago announced that all its scheduled shows were being postponed until at least January 17, and a month ago that its intended 2020 panto, Aladdin, was being postponed until Christmas 2021 (which remains the case).

As well as covering seat prices, the Lottery scheme will be providing free tickets for lottery players to win, and bonus prizes.

Though being announced at relatively short notice, commercial panto production for ATG, the biggest commercial theatre chain and owner of Manchester’s Palace and Opera House theatres, by its panto supplier, Qdos Entertainment, is an annual repeat business. The main shows, and their sets and costumes, are moved around to a different venue each year with freshened looks and revised scripts, rather than created from scratch for each new venue. Costs are thus reduced to the level at which a support scheme can try to break even on socially-distanced audience numbers.

Presale tickets will be available for ATG TheatreCard members and anyone who originally purchased tickets to the 2020-21 pantomime from 10am on November 4. 

General sale will be from 10am on November 6.

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