Panto in a Pandemic
Socially Distanced Seating
In December 2020, Sevenoaks Panto fans will be treated to a full scale pantomime production of Jack And The Beanstalk, seated in socially distanced bubbles that place empty seats in front, behind and to the sides of each family who book, meaning the auditorium will only be able to seat around one third of the normal capacity.
On stage, audiences won’t notice much of a change to this years panto, as production values will be kept as high as possible, and all of the laughs and traditions Sevenoaks audiences have come to know and love will be kept just the way they were BC (before Coronavirus).
A cast of five principals will be joined by four dancers, and, although most of the music will have to be pre recorded this year, live music will still feature, as our long serving drummer will be back to provide the ba-doom-tsh’s. We realised Silly Billy just isn’t funny without them.
Ninety Minute Show
Some things have had to change to make this year’s show financially viable, so as well as a smaller cast and smaller budgets, the show will be shorter too. Jack And The Beanstalk will be approximately 90 minutes long with no interval – just the right length for a festive family treat, but without the break in between, which makes social distance planning a little tricky.
Behind the scenes, a huge amount of planning will be going into making this year’s panto possible. Cast members will have to test for Coronavirus in November, and then self isolate for ten days prior to rehearsals beginning. During rehearsals and the run, all cast members will be creating a bubble between their household and the show, giving up Christmas and New Year celebrations, and avoiding restaurants, bars and shops. They’ll be forfeiting the festive season in order to keep the whole cast safe, and make sure we can deliver panto to the people.
The Stag Theatre management are investing in the latest cleaning equipment and disinfectant treatments to keep theatre goers safe, and of course audiences will need to adhere to the latest government advice.
No Cast Pictures This Year
There will be strict rules in place in the building, with back stage areas being strictly off limits to anyone who works front of house, and vice versa. This year cast members won’t be able to pose for pictures after performances, or meet family or friends at stage door. Public transport will also be off limits for the actors, who will be driving directly from home to the theatre each day, avoiding any contact with the public.
For the last eleven years, Sevenoaks Panto has provided hundreds of young dancers and dancers in training with the opportunity to take part in their first professional production, but this year they won’t be able to feature in the show. And what would normally be a back stage crew of ten or more will be reduced to just four, wearing face visors and keeping their distance from the cast as much as possible.