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Panto at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury stays on course to open

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The show will go on despite a second lockdown, say organisers of a 'fun-sized' Christmas panto at Kent's biggest theatre.

Having been forced by the pandemic to abandon its traditional big production at The Marlowe in Canterbury , producers came up with a smaller scale show for a socially-distanced audience.

Ben Roddy is the panto dame in Nurse Nellie Saves Panto
Ben Roddy is the panto dame in Nurse Nellie Saves Panto

More than 12,000 tickets have so far been sold to Nurse Nellie Saves Panto, which is due to open on Friday, December 11 and run to Sunday, January 3.

Theatre chief executive Deborah Shaw says the Prime Minister's announcement on Saturday of a second lockdown has not knocked the production off course.

"While public performances are not allowed during the month of lockdown, rehearsals are permitted, and we continue to work safely with our pantomime company," she said.

"Our theatre staff are busy preparing a warm, secure and socially-distanced welcome for audiences.

"Sales for Nurse Nellie are very strong and we have sold over 12,000 tickets to date.

"As always, we abide by the latest government advice and, if anything changes, we’ll let our audiences know."

The Marlowe Theatre
The Marlowe Theatre

The theatre suffered financially in the first lockdown and amid the subsequent restrictions, which forced it to cancel dozens of performances, including a planned Christmas run of Jack and the Beanstalk.

But the festive show has been replaced with the smaller production, which stars panto favourite Ben Roddy and other familiar faces from past shows.

Written by producer Paul Hendy, the 70-minute performance tells the story of a baddie stealing the joy of pantomime and how Nurse Nellie and her friends manage to rescue it.

It will feature panto classics, including great musical numbers, hilarious comedy routines and, of course, the legendary ghost gag bench.

Tickets can be booked via marlowetheatre.com or by calling The Marlowe box office on 01227 787787.

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