Christmas in the Scottish Highlands has suffered a blow as Eden Court Theatre in Inverness has announced its cancellation of its 2020 pantomime season.
Eden Court, the largest arts venue in the Scottish Highlands, told BBC News that pantomime ticket sales bring in a third of their annual income, with 36,000 visitors buying tickets for last year’s show.
By postponing this year’s panto, Cinderella, the venue will lose £350,000 in revenue and 14 performer jobs will be affected.
Director Steven Wren said “the ripples of this go on and on and on. It’s not only the theatre, but the restaurants round and about and the transport companies that bus the school parties. When you start to add it up the effect is huge.”
Eden Court is the latest venue to be faced with financial difficulty. While theatres have been allowed to open since August 15th, very few have done so. This is due to the loss in ticket sales while operating at a lower capacity.
It is hoped that the governments new “Operation Moonshot” testing plan could see theatres test audiences on arrival and only admit those with a negative result. This would allow theatres to operate at full capacity without social distancing.
Unfortunately the testing programme has not got off the ground fast enough to save Eden Court’s popular panto with some health experts warning that such a programme is “not feasible.”
Words by Richard Hansen.
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