Currently, indoor gatherings are permissible for up to 50 people, with the expectation that this will increase from August 10th. Even with an easing of restrictions, it is unrealistic to successfully programme a show as complex as the annual pantomime under the 2m social distancing measures, which would allow for a maximum of 85 people in the auditorium of The Everyman at one time, including the artists on stage.
Sean Kelly, Executive Director of The Everyman commented:
“It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of our 2020 pantomime. This is the first time in three decades that there won’t be a panto on The Everyman stage at Christmas. We really wish we didn’t have to disappoint our audiences like this, but panto is an extremely expensive undertaking, and under the current restrictions it is simply not possible to go ahead. The panto represents 20% of the theatre’s annual income and is also a vital source of employment for local performers and creatives, so it’s a huge blow to a great many people. We are determined that our panto will return in 2021 and be more spectacular than ever.”
The cancellation is an incredible setback for The Everyman with far-reaching implications. Each year, the panto provides a significant share of The Everyman’s annual income which also helps to subsidise the theatre’s non-commercial work, supporting artists and the development of new productions. Moreover, The Everyman pantomime provides annual employment for almost 100 people – artists, creatives, musicians and crew – who are hugely reliant on the 3-month period of income.
The cancellation will also be a massive disappointment to the 31,000 audience members that come each year for their traditional family outing to the pantomime at The Everyman; the disappointment will be especially felt in a year when everyone needs magic, joy, and family togetherness more than ever.
Julie Kelleher, Artistic Director of The Everyman added:
“Panto is a tradition that is central to many people’s Christmas plans, and it’s a tradition we take great pride in upholding at The Everyman. It is joyful, comforting, and entertaining, which is everything you need at the darkest time of the year. It’s a source of huge disappointment to us, and the small army of cast, crew, and creatives that make the show every year, not to be able to provide that for families this year.”
CADA Performing Arts Academy has entertained families with their pantomimes at The Everyman for the last 25 years. Each year, their fantastic team returns with a hilarious script, fresh ideas, and even more magic, music, and colour. This year would have been their 26 panto on the stage of the beautiful Victorian theatre in Cork.
Catherine Mahon-Buckley, Director of CADA Performing Arts Academy and Producer of the annual pantomime at The Everyman concluded:
“While we are all in the same storm, not all of us are in the same boat. Pantomime is a huge part of Christmas Tradition, where song, dance, joy, fun, and laughter, is all part of the performance. In my 26 years directing and producing the panto at The Everyman I have worked with incredible people both on stage and backstage. I am now fearful for the livelihoods of these people who have dedicated their skill and creativity in making magic on stage each year. But we live in hope. Pantomime is as old as Time and must be preserved to fly again in this Whole NEW WORLD. We will be back in 2021!”