Harrogate panto postponed this weekend as Storm Arwen 'springs a leak' in theatre's roof repairs

Harrogate Theatre has been forced to postpone this weekend's pantomime performances after Storm Arwen put a damper on proceedings.

Saturday, 27th November 2021, 1:01 pm
Updated Saturday, 27th November 2021, 1:46 pm

The show, which returned to triumphant applause during a special reopening night on Friday, will not be taking place at all this weekend after the theatre 'sprung a leak'.

Harrogate Theatre and its staff have been through a most difficult past couple of years with, first, Covid lockdowns meaning no shows were possible, and then a million pound refit of the ageing roof meaning that performances have had to go 'on the road' in various places around the town.

Friday night saw the first show in many months as the popular panto - this year's performance is Cinderella - return to a standing ovation. But the joy has proven to be short-lived as Storm Arwen has (almost) literally blown the house down.

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The Cinderella cast were given a standing ovation on Friday evening... but their weekend shows have been halted by Storm Arwen.

Roof works are on-going at the theatre and while it had been hoped that they could run the show by making the roof secure and weatherproof, nobody could have predicted the strong winds and snowy rain that blew in on Friday evening.

A statement from the theatre reads: "We are so sorry to say that our performances of Cinderella this weekend are all cancelled.

"The severity of the storm we experienced has meant that we have sprung a leak. We are working hard to get this rectified, but please do not turn up for any performances this weekend.

We thank you for your patience and understanding."

The panto performances that are affected include:

The 12pm performance Saturday

The 5pm performance Saturday

The 12pm performance on Sunday

The 5pm performance on Sunday

Theatre staff are working hard to get in touch with everyone who has a ticket and have asked people not to try and contact them today. They will be in touch as soon as they can re the next step and what you should do re your tickets.

Panto legend Tim Stedman gave a moving thank you speech to everyone who had supported Harrogate Theatre at the end of an emotional first night for the return of panto.

The talented funnyman thanked the packed crowd in the 120-year-old building currently undergoing a £1million roof restoration to wild applause from children and their parents.

The cast received a standing ovation at the end of Cinderella, the first panto performed on stage at Harrogate Theatre for 22 months after the pandemic struck.

It was the first production by the new team of director Joyce Branagh and assistant director Rachael Helliwell who stepped in after the sudden death of much-missed panto director and co-writer Phil Lowe after his sudden death in October.

If there was any sense of a crisis it did not show in a slickly put together, rapid-moving show that is light on its feet but packs a funny wallop in all the right places.

The stunning quality of the sets was matched only by the brilliant performances of all five main actors - the wonderful Tim Stedman, Colin Kiyani, Christina Harris, Janine Mellor and Richard Emerson - a small cast serving up a major amount of fun with great skill.

But the honours belonged, ultimately, to the witty and intelligent script by Lowe and co-writer David Bown.

Daft and silly, cutting and satirical, on a night when the events of recent months hung in the air unspoken but felt by all, Harrogate Theatre's version of Cinderella ended up not only loudly entertaining but quietly touching.

Cinderella runs at Harrogate Theatre until January 16.

It can only be hoped that they get better luck in the months to come.