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Panto More Popular Than Ever!

Traditional British pantomime continues to defy the world’s ongoing financial problems as theatres report their “best ever” pantomime season.

Research undertaken for the second annual Panto Day shows that panto season 2012 is set to be the most popular and lucrative yet, with the genre’s popularity still riding high centuries after its birth.

Record Breaking Box Office Figures

The Greenwich Theatre’s most successful panto year was in 2001, but they are already “well on track” to break that and are up 18% on equivalent ticket sales at this point last year.

The Harlequin Theatre in Redhill’s production of Cinderella is out-selling 2011’s Sleeping Beauty by around 10%.

In Canterbury, ticket sales at the Marlowe Theatre are set to increase from £1.4m last year by around 8.5% and it is estimated that 90,000 people in total will see this season’s pantomime starring Toyah Willcox and Gareth Gates.

At the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, 41 performances of their rock ‘n’ roll pantomimeSleeping Beauty are already sold out.

Harrogate Theatre’s 90% capacity last year was up 5% on 2010, with 2012’s Jack and the Beanstalk set to be an equally successful year. Currently 22 performances are sold out.

Jack and the Beanstalk at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls has recently broken all records since box office records began and is currently up over 6% on 2011’s figures – an almost £100,000 increase in sales.

The Mayflower, Southampton is re-introducing pantomime to its programming this year, having listened to their audience who demanded its return.

The Oldham Coliseum sold £20,000 of tickets for their 2012 production of Dick Whittington on the first day Aladdin opened in 2011.

Magic Beans Productions in Sevenoaks have doubled attendance figures over the past three seasons at the Stag Theatre, with figures on target to increase again this year. An extra week has been added to meet demand and the company is now also producing pantomime in Weymouth.

In Newcastle, the Theatre Royal is retaining its extra week added due to popular demand last year and has already sold over 70,000 tickets for Aladdin which opens on Tuesday 27thNovember 2012.

Prof. Millie Taylor of the University of Winchester and author of British Pantomime Performance said:

“Music, dance, story and spectacle stimulate togetherness, and mirror neurons cause audiences to experience the excitement of happy-ever-after wonderlands. Pantomime’s popularity is undiminished by the economic crisis and increasingly stretched budgets of contemporary Britain.”

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