Popular panto paused amid rise in Covid cases

Lowestoft Players pantomime Aladdin performed at the Marina Theatre in January 2020

A scene from the Lowestoft Players pantomime Aladdin performed at the Marina Theatre in January 2020. - Credit: Stephen Wilson, The Lowestoft Players

A popular theatre group has had to postpone its annual panto production until later this year amid the continuing Covid crisis.

The award-winning Lowestoft Players were preparing to perform their first post-pandemic panto - Beauty and the Beast - at the Marina Theatre between January 22 and January 30.

Dame Fanny Facemask, Russell Sprout and Belle

Colourful characters from the Lowestoft Players Beauty and the Beast pantomime – Dame Fanny Facemask, Russell Sprout and Belle. - Credit: Stephen Wilson, The Lowestoft Players

However, management announced it was "with heavy hearts" that they have had to cancel the production with Covid affecting cast and crew and disrupting rehearsals.

Having staged a panto in Lowestoft for more than 50 years, The Players annual production will now be performed at the Players Theatre on Battery Green Road, Lowestoft at the end of May.

Beauty and the Beast pantomime artwork

Beauty and the Beast pantomime artwork. - Credit: Stephen Wilson, The Lowestoft Players

Jenny Wright, chair of the Lowestoft Players, said: “Covid struck the cast and crew of the pantomime hard prior to Christmas.

“We had hoped that over holiday period things would get better but even more members have been struck by this dreadful virus which sadly has resulted in the disruption of rehearsals at such a crucial time.

"After considering a range of options the decision has been made to postpone our production until later in the year.

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“The Marina Theatre have been very supportive and have been part of our decision making process.

"However, due to a very busy programme of events throughout 2022 at the popular town centre theatre it has not been possible to reschedule the production there.”

The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft.

The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Emma Butler Smith, chief executive of the Marina Theatre, said: “It’s such a shame that Covid has struck the Lowestoft Players at the eleventh hour.

"I know just how much time and hard work has gone into getting this far.

"We will really miss not having the much-loved Lowestoft Players perform at our theatre this year.

"We will of course issue refunds and will be contacting all customers who have bought tickets with details.”

John Marjoram, director of Beauty and The Beast, added: “With a very talented cast and a very funny script we are determined that the show must go on.

"It’s just going to be a little later in the year than we had planned.

The Lowestoft Players Theatre. Picture: Mick Howes

The Lowestoft Players Theatre. - Credit: Mick Howes

"Fortunately our pantomime is not too Christmassy so we are sure that it will be enjoyed just as much in May as it would have been in January.”

New production dates

Beauty and the Beast will now be performed on Friday, May 20 at 7.30pm; May 21 at 1pm and 5pm; May 22 at 1pm and 5pm; Thursday, May 26 at 7.30pm; May 27 at 7.30pm; May 28 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm and May 29 at 1pm and 5pm.

Tickets for the production are available from Friday, January 7 from playerstheatre.info or call the Players Theatre box office on 01502 770020.

It means that the planned Lowestoft Players production of 9 to 5 will now be rescheduled, with details to be confirmed in due course.

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