Oh yes it will! Northampton panto goes ahead as cast members who tested positive for Covid-19 replaced

Some stars will miss first Dick Whittington show on Friday but return on Monday

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 12:19 pm

Theatre bosses say the show will go on after cast members from the Royal & Derngate Christmas panto tested positive for Covid-19.

Dick Whittington opens in Northampton on Friday (December 10) with stand-ins replacing some stars for the first few shows in the three-week run.

The venue has already asked theatre-goers to wear face masks at all times before, during and after shows.

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Friday's panto opening night will go ahead as planned at the Royal & Derngate theatre

A statement from artistic director James Dacre issued on Tuesday (December 7) said: "Despite extremely robust safety measures being in place, members of our Dick Whittington company have unfortunately tested positive for Covid during rehearsals.

"We are pleased to say that performances will be going ahead from Friday but the opening few shows will see an alternative company of actors replace the originally advertised cast.

"In considering many options available to us, our priority has remained to deliver a knock out pantomime for all to enjoy.

"Our exceptional company are working hard to ensure that the show goes on.

"While we are sorry for the obvious disappointment this temporary re-casting may cause, we are extremely confident that whichever cast audiences see, they will have a fantastic experience at Royal & Derngate.

"All ticket holders are being contacted directly in the hope they will continue to support these opening performances. They will, however, have the opportunity to reschedule their tickets to a date after December 13, when the production will be staged as originally intended."

Stars of this year's show include infamous EastEnders TV baddie Ricky Champ as the dastardly King Rat, children’s favourite Phil Gallagher — Cbeebies’ Mister Maker — Northampton's own panto dame legend Bob Golding plus stage and screen actress Deborah Tracey.

None of the positive tests among the cast are being linked to the Omicron variant.

Theatre bosses last week issued an update regarding wearing face-coverings.

It said: "To coincide with recent change to restrictions that asks people to wear face coverings in shops and on public transport, we now require all our customers to do the same in our Theatre and Filmhouse spaces.

"Not only is this a courtesy to your fellow audience members but in doing so, you continue to prioritise the safety of our essential front line staff."