Manchester panto to open later than planned


Jason Manford in Sleeping Beauty
Jason Manford in Sleeping Beauty

Manchester’s biggest commercial panto – at the city’s Opera House – has been forced to open later due to the harsher tier-three restrictions that have followed the November lockdown..

Sleeping Beauty, starring Jason Manford, Jodie Prenger, Billy Pearce and Eric Potts, is now expected to open on Christmas Eve – rather than the previously-announced December 12 – and run until January 10.

But the new date is currently provisional, for it relies on the campaign for Greater Manchester to be placed in tier two in the next government revision in mid-December.

The theatre’s director, Sheena Wrigley, said, “Given the downward trend of the virus in the city and the campaign for the reduction of the tier level, we continue to be hopeful that we can stage the show this Christmas, opening a little later than planned. We thank all our customers for their patience as we work to get affected bookings rescheduled.”

Ambassador Theatre Group, which owns the theatre, still plans to offer NHS staff free tickets, but this will now be for the January 8 performance, rather than for what was to be the original first night. All original ballot entries remain valid and winners will be contacted in the week from December 7.

A relaxed performance of the show – specially adapted to allow those with autism, sensory and communication disorders, learning difficulties, or anyone who would benefit from a more informal setting – will now take place on the afternoon of January 6, at 1pm.