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No plans for live pantos in Surrey and Hampshire this Christmas

2 minute read
No plans for live pantos in Surrey and Hampshire this Christmas

Published by Lettie Buxton at 3:33pm 6th July 2020. (Updated at 9:20am 7th July 2020)

People might not be able to watch live pantomimes in Surrey and Hampshire this festive season, as theatre venues could remain closed until next year because of the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes as the government announced a £1.57 billion funding boost for the arts sector in a bid to help theatres, live music venues and galleries to stay afloat during the pandemic.

But, there are currently no plans for live performances to start again.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that although he "would love" to see the traditional Christmas plays go ahead, "I don't want to raise expectations".

Joanna Read, director and chief executive at Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, has welcomed the funding and reassured visitors:

"I think for us it's a tremendous boost of confidence because obviously things are very challenging for the theatre at the moment - we don't know when we can open again.

"But, I think this announcement of funds being available gives me confidence that even if we're not able to open by Christmas, I know we will be open again in the future.

"This is a set of really unprecedented circumstances.

"We've never had to deal with a situation such as this and the decisions we're making at the theatre are about making sure we secure the long term future of the theatre.

"So if we don't make this pantomime, you can be assured we'll make the next pantomime."