Pantomime is set to return to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool for the first time in more than 60 years, under a collaboration between the venue and producer Mark Goucher.
It will be the first show from newly announced production company, Charming Pantomimes, set up for the 2020 pantomime by Goucher. Goucher’s slate currently includes 2020 tours of Hairspray and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
He is also the chief executive of the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham.
Charming Pantomimes will partner with the Winter Gardens next year on a large-scale production of Cinderella that will run at the Opera House Blackpool from December 2020.
It will be the first time the venue has hosted a pantomime since 1956.
Michael Williams, managing director of the Winter Gardens, said: “This is really exciting news for the venue and the people of Blackpool. After such a long absence we can’t wait to put on the best pantomime the Opera House has ever seen.”
The show will be written by Samuel Holmes, and directed and choreographed by Nick Winston. It will have designs by Phil R Daniels and Charles Cusick Smith and musical supervision by Charlie Ingles.
The Blackpool pantomime will be a larger-scale version of the Cinderella production currently running at the Everyman in Cheltenham.
Goucher did not rule out producing more pantomimes for additional venues in the future, but said current plans only include continuing to produce the annual pantomime at the Everyman, and producing Cinderella in Blackpool.
He told The Stage: “It felt like a little bit of a waste that we were making these shows [for Cheltenham] and there were other places that were looking for panto, but we didn’t make our show available.”
The shows are produced by Goucher’s London office, but he said his new venture would be a combination of this team and “my enthusiasm for the product we are producing here in Cheltenham”.
“We’re not actively setting ourselves up in competition with the big pantomime companies that are already out there – that’s not what we want to do.
“It may be that we do end up talking to other theatres about increasing the range of our shows, but at the moment we are concentrating on continuing to produce the shows here.”