Power cut cancels opening night of Harrogate panto

Dame Nanny Annie Nidderdale (s)

Dame Nanny Annie Nidderdale (s)

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A mid-show power cut plunged the audience and cast into darkness during the opening night of Harrogate Theatre’s 2013 pantomime Sleeping Beauty on Friday.

The stage was set with the audience in stitches and cast members hailing it one of their greatest opening nights.

But, as the curtain was raised on act two, it was more “where are you” than “it’s behind you” for panto fans in the latest in a series of town centre power outages.

With power down in the auditorium, theatre chiefs were forced to cancel the performance.

Kevin Jamieson is deputy chief executive of Harrogate Theatre. He said: “The last decision we ever want to make is to cancel a show but the audience were brilliant and very understanding. We have refunded people or moved them to another performance.

“The real cost is the disappointment of the people there for opening night.”

Power supplier Northern Powergrid apologised for the blackout and confirmed it is investigating a link to similar incidents in the HG1 area.

A spokesperson for Northern Powergrid told the Harrogate Advertiser: “An unplanned power cut on Friday 22 November between 9.03pm and 11.26pm affected Harrogate Theatre and a small number of other properties in the vicinity.

“We believe this fault is related to a number of other short duration faults in the same area of Harrogate over the last few months.

“Engineers were on site throughout the weekend trying to locate the fault.”

“Monitoring equipment has been installed to establish the stability of the supply and to determine whether it will be possible to transfer the existing supply to an alternative one until we locate the fault and carry out a full repair.”

The supplier said it has been on site: “There is a permanent presence of Northern Powergrid staff on site and we are working with the local authority to progress any work associated with the location and repair of the fault.

“We would like to apologise to all those affected and we assure you that everything possible is being done to resolve the issue.”

Mr Jamieson added: “Since Friday we have had conversations with other businesses in the area, and they agree it is so unreliable as a power source, especially at this time of year.

“It’s hard to run any kind of business with that level of unreliability.”

Chris Clarkson is playing Dame Nanny Annie Nidderdale in the show.

Writing on his blog, Chris said: “I’m not sure who was more gutted, us or the audience! They all knew that Northern Powergrid were the real panto villains.”

Listen:

Harrogate panto stars talk Sleeping Beauty