By Rachael Grealish
Christmas isn’t cancelled in Carlisle as everyone is invited to be The Sands Centre’s socially distanced guest for their beauty of a panto during this beast of a year.
It was officially announced today, Wednesday November 4, the show must go on at the Cumbrian venue with a specially designed 75 minute production of Beauty and the Beast pantomime.
Returning for another year is none other than Collabro’s Matt Pagan as the Prince and the Beast, CFM Radio’s Robbie Dee as Mrs Potts and back by popular demand the hilarious illusionist Andrew Flemming as Silly Billy.
This year’s production promises to be a COVID-safe, socially distanced, rib-tickling festive treat for all the family, with a reduced capacity and no interval to minimise crowding.
The Carlisle-born Britain’s Got Talent winner Matt, said: “I am beyond excited to return to my hometown for a specially designed panto this Christmas. This year has been awful, for us all, but we can’t just cancel Christmas.
The spellbinding pantomime tells the story of Belle who longs for romance and adventure, a bad-mannered Prince who is transformed into a Beast to teach him a lesson and a good Fairy who makes both their dreams come true.
A spokesperson for The Sands Centre said “We had previously advertised Cinderella as our 2020 Christmas production, but due to the scale of the cast and company that a production of Cinderella requires we have made the decision to reschedule this performance and spend the extra time making sure that we can bring our biggest and best production of Cinderella to the region in 2021.
“We understand that a visit to the pantomime may be a huge part of your festive traditions, so have been working hard to produce a specially designed pantomime for 2020 that allows you, your household and support bubble to still experience the magic of panto in these unprecedented times.”
The Sands Centre has already contacted customers, via email who had already purchased tickets for Cinderella, but stress the customer service team are here to help every step of the way, for any advice needed.
There is only a very limited number of tickets for this year’s panto, so it’s advised to book early to avoid disappointment.
Radio host, Robbie Dee – who will be celebrating his 18th year as part of the Sands Centre panto family – explained even with a different show he thinks it’ll be ‘brilliant’.
He said: “I will be celebrating my 18th year running in The Sands Centre panto slightly differently, but we are going to have a brilliant time anyway.
“Cinderella will get to the ball, but she’ll just have to wait until next year when hopefully things will be a lot different and much better. The show must go on, oh yes it must!”
Beauty & The Beast runs from Friday 18 to Thursday 24 December with morning, afternoon and evening performances.
Tickets go on sale at 8am on Friday, November 6, at thesandscentre.co.uk or by calling 01228 633766.