Cork theatre hoping Covid won’t be the panto villain

Cork theatre hoping Covid won’t be the panto villain

Everyman Palace theatre artistic director Sophie Motley said: ‘It was a bit of a gamble to put on a panto this year, but it was really important for us to do it for our audiences and for the artists... People love the panto and they’ve been looking forward to it. Cork is a pantomime city.’

WHILE most pantomime characters are scared to look behind them, the organisers behind some of the county’s most popular productions are much more fearful about what might be in front of them, after parents were advised by Government to reduce socialisation indoors for children and limit attendance at indoor gatherings.

The recommendation comes as a blow heading into panto season, but for the Everyman Palace’s artistic director, it was an anticipated one.

“After the rumblings last week, we were expecting something,” said Sophie Motley. 

“Public health is the most important thing, but it is difficult and it’s confusing because it’s making parents choose.”

Difficult decisions

The Government guidance left the decision on how to prioritise activities to individual families, saying: “Parents know their children best and know the activities/experiences that matter most to them.”

Ms Motley said such decisions were difficult for families, but added that huge work had gone into safety preparations in the theatre.

“We can, of course, understand that if families can only intend one indoor activity, they’re going to choose Christmas day with the family rather than the panto.

“But at the same time, if they’re able to have Christmas one week and come to the panto the next week, then we can promise an enjoyable and regulated experience.”

Rehearsals

The news comes just as the cast of this year’s pantomime, Aladdin, prepares to start on-stage rehearsals.

“The cast has been rehearsing for a month already. The panto is ready to go and it’s wonderful,” Ms Motley said.

“We had to scale it back, but it is still the Everyman panto in a Covid-safe way.”

“The cast has been rehearsing for a month already. The panto is ready to go and it’s wonderful,” Ms Motley said.
“The cast has been rehearsing for a month already. The panto is ready to go and it’s wonderful,” Ms Motley said.

The team is also hoping to create a digital version of the panto for people to view from home if needed. However, they have their fingers crossed that live audiences will enjoy seeing Aladdin’s carpet fly in Cork again this year.

“It was a bit of a gamble to put on a panto this year, but it was really important for us to do it for our audiences and for the artists,” Ms Motley said.

“The Everyman panto alone employs up to 40 people in Cork. That’s jobs for artists, technicians, costume designers, and the workshop that makes the flying carpet for Aladdin.

“The past two years have been tough for the arts full stop, but also for the city. People love the panto and they’ve been looking forward to it. Cork is a pantomime city.”

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