The current restrictions mean that the much-loved annual tradition of schoolchildren coming to Aberdeen Arts Centre to enjoy all the fun of the panto won’t happen this year.
Both Aberdeen Arts Centre and TaleGate Theatre Productions didn’t want the children to miss out, and so came up with the idea of streaming the show for free to North-east schools during December.
Over 80 schools have signed up so far to the free stream, giving hundreds of children the opportunity to experience a magical pantomime from the comfort and safety of their own classrooms.
The family-favourite is a good-old-fashioned pantomime with all the elements you’d expect: songs, slapstick, silliness, audience participation, not to mention an outrageous Aberdonian Dame.
Stephanie Walls Aberdeen Arts Centre Manager said: “As we await further announcements from the Scottish Government, we wanted to explore alternative ways of bringing the magic of theatre and some much-needed Christmas fun to the children of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
“Starring a talented professional cast of local actors, our fairytale performance of ‘Aladdin’ is bursting with fun and silliness.
“Children can follow our hero, Aladdin, and his troublesome mum, Widow McTwankey, on a journey full of Eastern promise with a sprinkling of Aberdonian charm!
“Alongside this streaming version of last year’s box office smash ‘Aladdin’, we’re working behind the scenes with TaleGate Theatre to produce a live pantomime for socially-distanced audiences, if restrictions will allow.
“Our team has been working hard for the last few months to adapt our theatre to allow for socially distanced performances to take place.
“Deep cleaning and one-way systems are already in place, so we’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as we enter the required tier level to open our auditorium.”
Philip Ward and James Worthington of TaleGate Theatre Productions added: “Part of our mission statement at TaleGate Theatre Productions Ltd is to provide the magic of theatre to families across the UK regardless of any social barriers.
“ Being able to offer a filmed version of our pantomime ‘Aladdin’ for free to schools across Aberdeen is wonderful. This year has been tough on us all, and it is vital that children can laugh out loud at their annual festive treat.
“It highlights the important role that entertainment, and in particular Aberdeen Arts Centre, plays within the community.
“Working with Aberdeen Arts Centre on last year’s panto was magical and we would like to thank all of the team, including the talented cast in making this possible.”