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Theatre Royal to shut its doors and cancel pantomime shows

George Roberts

REVIEW: The Best Man at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Windsor’s Theatre Royal will shut its doors from Saturday in line with Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions, leaving staff devastated.

Following the Government’s announcement yesterday (Thursday) that all of Berkshire will move into Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions, many businesses have been forced to either shut their doors or drastically change their plans for the Christmas period.

The closure means that the Thames Street theatre will have to cancel performances of its 82nd annual pantomime up until Wednesday, December 30. The last show will take place tonight (Friday).

Shows booked from December 31 and beyond have not yet been called off, with theatre managers awaiting the next Government review.

In a joint statement, Theatre Royal co-directors Jon and Anne-Marie Woodley said: “We are deeply saddened that our much-loved pantomime that has run each year for over 82 years, is having to cancel performances.

“For many families, this is a massive annual tradition and even more so at the end of what has already been such a terrible year for everyone.

“Whilst many other theatres across London and the UK have not been able to present a Christmas show this year, we have been proud to be one of the few theatres to have played nearly 30 performances, enjoyed by over 7,000 people.

“Whilst of course public safety must be paramount, cancelling a massive production like this just before our busiest period has a huge financial impact.”

The closure of the theatre will have a significant impact on all the 130 actors, musicians and theatre staff who have been working on this year’s pantomime.

“The effect of this closure is devastating after a year where the theatre has been closed for eight months already,” the statement continued.

“We very much hope that we can resume performances as soon as we are able to and would like to thank our audiences, staff, and our fabulous pantomime company for their support and patience.”

A statement from Bill Kenwright Ltd, owner of the theatre, added: “We decided in summer that our pantomime would go on no matter what.

“It has - and it is wonderful.

“The biggest sadness to everyone involved is not the financial loss but the loss of the smiling faces who have lit up our theatre for the last three weeks. We will miss them, but hope we will be back.”

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