Four London theatres have announced their 2020/2021 pantomimes will be postponed.
Hackney Empire, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Queen's Theatre Hornchurch and Theatre Royal Stratford East have all pushed their upcoming productions to Christmas 2021.
The move comes amid the ongoing theatre shutdown with the UK government announcing that guidance for indoor performances without social distancing may not come until November at the earliest.
The new dates and productions are as follows:
Jack and the Beanstalk at Hackney Empire will run from November 2021 to January 2022 (exact dates to be confirmed).
Aladdin at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre will run from November 13 2021 to January 2 2022.
Aladdin at Queen's Theatre Hornchurch will run from November 25 to January 2 2022.
Red Riding Hood at Theatre Royal Stratford East will run from November 20 2021 to January 8 2022.
Yamin Choudury, Artistic Director and Jo Hemmant, Executive Director, Hackney Empire said: "Everyone involved in bringing our world-famous pantomime to Hackney is devastated, but we know that we have to make any decision necessary, however unimaginable a few months ago, to ensure that Hackney Empire can remain this incredible and singular sanctuary of creativity and togetherness for another 120 years and more."
Rachel O'Riordan, Artistic Director and Sian Alexander, Executive Director, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre said: "We are desperately sad to be postponing the Lyric's 2020 Panto Aladdin to 2021. It was a very hard decision but one we had to make to ensure the future of our theatre and manage the unprecedented levels of risk during this difficult and uncertain time."
Douglas Rintoul, Artistic Director and Mathew Russell, Executive Director, Queen's Theatre Hornchurch said: "Whilst we're excited that audiences will still get to see our latest pantomime Aladdin in 2021, fingers tightly crossed, we're incredibly sad that this is the first time since 1953 that Queen's Theatre Hornchurch won't be producing a pantomime. It's the highlight of everyone's year - for audiences of all ages and the team at the Theatre too - celebrating togetherness through a riot of silliness and spectacle."
Nadia Fall, Artistic Director and Eleanor Lang, Executive Director, Theatre Royal Stratford East said: "Panto has been part of the Stratford East Christmas since 1884 and so it's with a heavy heart that we have to postpone Red Riding Hood. So many people tell us that the Stratford East panto is the first thing they saw as a child, and so many families come every year as their Christmas tradition, and each year over 11,000 school children come to our panto too.
"It's also our biggest show; employing a wide range of freelancers, who may now have no work over the Christmas period. Panto means so much to our audiences, the artists and freelancers that put it together and to us as a building. Despite the disappointment for this year, we are determined that we will have a brilliant panto in the making by Carl Miller and Robert Hyman next year and we can't wait to share Red Riding Hood with our audiences in 2021."
Picture: Flickr/Matt Biddulph