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Newcastle Theatre Royal to Stage Robin Hood an All-New, Socially Distanced Pantomime


Newcastle Theatre Royal and pantomime producers Qdos Entertainment have today announced that a socially-distanced pantomime will be staged at the venue, with an all-new production of Robin Hood, thanks to support from The National Lottery. Starring masters of mayhem Danny Adams and Clive Webb, alongside the Grande Dame of Grey Street Chris Hayward, they will be joined by X Factor and local lad Joe McElderry, illusionist Phil Hitchcock, hilarious gymnasts The Acromaniacs, Pop Idol star Zoe Birkett and Mick Potts. Robin Hood will play from Saturday 19 December, 2020 for a strictly limited 3 week run. 

The production is able to go ahead thanks to the support of The National Lottery, which will give thousands of theatregoers, in Newcastle and across the country, the chance to enjoy socially distanced pantomime this Christmas. The show is being staged as a result of an initiative between The National Lottery and Qdos Entertainment which is providing financial support for theatres to stage socially distanced, live pantomimes this festive season. This will make it viable for venues, including Newcastle Theatre Royal, to open their doors to the general public, generating vital income for the theatre while providing much-needed cheer for pantomime lovers.  

Robin Hood marks Danny Adams and Clive Webb’s 16th consecutive Theatre Royal pantomime alongside the Grande Dame of Grey Street Chris Hayward, who also celebrates his 14th panto season in Newcastle. Last year saw Danny, and his brother Mick, star in the first two series of Danny & Mick on CBBC, which saw them nominated for Best New Sitcom from the British Comedy Guide. Danny will play Robin Hood, with Clive as Friar Tuck and Chris as Rita.

Joe McElderry, who stars as The Spirit of Sherwood, became a household name after winning the sixth series of ITV’s The X Factor in 2009. His first single, ‘The Climb’ reached number one in the UK singles chart. Joe was also a contestant on ITV’s Pop Star to Opera Star and Channel 4’s The Jump and regularly tours the UK. Joe has since played leading roles in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Who’s Tommy and toured the UK throughout 2019 in the new musical Club Tropicana. Robin Hood marks Joe’s seventh pantomime for Qdos Entertainment.

They will be joined by renowned illusionist Phil Hitchcock, who starred in last year’s London Palladium pantomime, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Completing the line-up will be comedy gymnast troupe The Acromaniacs, musical theatre leading lady and Pop Idol star Zoe Birkett, who is renowned for her incredible vocal talent and leading roles in The Bodyguard and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, with Danny & Mick star, the side-splittingly silent funny man, Mick Potts. Robin Hood will also feature Theatre Royal panto regulars Steve Arnott, Wayne Smith and Laura Evans making up an on stage company of 18 performers and musicians  

This year’s production, created especially for Newcastle Theatre Royal in this unprecedented year, will be a riotously funny, one-act celebration of pantomime, packed full of comedy and laughter and allow audience members the opportunity to come safely together and enjoy the magic of the much-loved and unique art form this festive season. 

Producer and Director of Robin Hood, Michael Harrison said: 
A year without panto at the Theatre Royal was unthinkable, and although it will be different in many ways, not least because we will be running for just three weeks, playing to a reduced capacity of under 500 seats per performance to ensure audience safety and creating a production that is 75 minutes straight through with no interval which also means our actors and crew are safe, it will still feature the usual madness and mayhem audiences love. We all hope 2020 has been a “one off” and this panto will also be a “one off”, a collector’s item for panto fans. I have just finished the script and worked through the scenery and music plans and I’m as excited for Robin Hood as I have been for any panto in the past 16 years - perhaps even more so.

Newcastle Theatre Royal Chief Executive, Philip Bernays said:
Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a Theatre Royal panto – it is such an important part of the festivities for thousands of people every year that I am both relieved and delighted that we can bring you another sensational show. My thanks to the team, who I know will pull out all the stops, and to the National Lottery for their support.  It’s my favourite show of the year and I can’t wait!

This new production will be packed full of comedy routines, audience-safe participation and all the unmissable magic that Newcastle Theatre Royal audiences have come to expect from their annual festive pantomime. The previously advertised production of Humpty Dumpty will be staged in 2021 and existing bookers have already been contacted with details of their new tickets.

Robin Hood is being staged as a result of an initiative between The National Lottery and Qdos Entertainment which is providing financial support for theatres to stage socially distanced live pantomimes across the country this Christmas. By buying the seats which have to remain empty to enable social distancing The National Lottery is making social distance pantomimes possible.  Up to 20,000 free tickets to pantomimes across the country, including in Newcastle, will be made available to National Lottery players to thank them for making it possible for this Christmas tradition to go ahead. National Lottery players raise on average £30M each week for Good Causes.  This year has seen up to £600M in National Lottery funding being used by charities and organisations affected by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak across the arts, community and charity, heritage, education, environment and sport sectors.