Will pantomimes and ballets be cancelled this Christmas?

6 August 2020, 16:22 | Updated: 14 August 2020, 10:54

Will pantomimes and ballets be cancelled this Christmas?
Will pantomimes and ballets be cancelled this Christmas? Picture: PA

By Rosie Pentreath

As the coronavirus pandemic lingers, live music, theatre and other events remain largely off limits in the UK. But what will the picture be by the festive season?

With the effects of the coronavirus pandemic lingering, and creative industries still unable to get back up on their feet fully, there are few signs of live entertainment returning to its full glory in the UK yet.

And although it’s August, with Autumn fast approaching it’s not unnatural for forward-planners to be turning their minds to the festive season. Christmas of the topsy-turvy year that is 2020 (to put it lightly) will be upon us soon – but will it bring with it side-splitting pantos, sparkly ballets and glorious Messiahs?

The answer to this is yet to be seen.

Why might Christmas shows be cancelled?

Concerts, ballets and pantomimes take time to produce, prepare for and rehearse, so require performers to be able to be in a room together. So far, government guidance does allow professional musicians to return to group rehearsals in some capacity but audiences are still not allowed to return to watch live music or theatre indoors.

It’s also a question of uncertainty. Audiences were slated to be allowed back on Saturday 1 August before the PM, Boris Johnson, took a u-turn on the decision the day before and announced it would be no earlier that 15 August.

In fact, if you’ll excuse us, the government’s ‘will they, won’t they’ approach to allowing audiences to return to indoor live concerts and theatre rather reminds us of one of pantomime’s most beloved catchphrases. All together now: “Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is!”.

So where does this all leave us? What pantomimes and ballets will be on this Christmas? And have any already been cancelled?

Read more: Andrew Lloyd Webber reacts to his socially-distanced Palladium trial >

“Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is!”: Is panto going to be on this Christmas?
“Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is!”: Is panto going to be on this Christmas? Picture: PA

What pantomimes have been cancelled due to coronavirus?

Grand Opera House, Belfast: Goldilocks and the Three Bears – postponed to 2021.
Visit: www.goh.co.uk

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh: Sleeping Beauty – postponed to 2021.
Visit: www.capitaltheatres.com

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen: Beauty and the Beast – postponed to 2021.
Visit:
www.aberdeenperformingarts.com

Blackpool Opera House: Cinderella – postponed to 2021.
Visit: www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk

Birmingham Hippodrome: Goldilocks and the Three Bears – postponed to 2021.
Visit: www.birminghamhippodrome.com

What 2020 Christmas ballets have been cancelled?

Scottish Ballet: Nutcracker (tour) – Belfast Grand Opera House performances postponed to 2021.
Visit: www.scottishballet.co.uk

Birmingham Royal Ballet: Nutcracker – postponed to 2021.
Visit: www.birminghamhippodrome.com

The Philharmonia Orchestra has cancelled its 'Messiah' this Christmas
The Philharmonia Orchestra has cancelled its 'Messiah' this Christmas. Picture: Getty

Christmas concerts cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19

Handel’s Messiah: Featuring the Philharmonia Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre (London).
Visit: www.southbankcentre.co.uk

James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio: Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre (London).
Visit: www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Grand Christmas Classics: Presented by the Philharmonia Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre (London).
Visit: www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Christmas at the Movies: Performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre (London).
Visit: www.southbankcentre.co.uk

National Children's Orchestras Winter Concert: Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre (London).
Visit: www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Will there be Christmas church services and other events this year?

Singing (other than solo lines for the purpose of prayer) is still forbidden in places of worship at the moment.

Christmas light switch-ons have started to be cancelled, and several garden centres and other venues around the UK have scaled back Christmas opening and events due to COVID-19 risks and restrictions.

We will be adding or removing cancelled events from this list accordingly, based on government and industry updates.