In a season rocked by a pandemic, panto is heading to the National.
London’s National Theatre will present Dick Whittington later this year (exact dates to come) in its Olivier Theatre, which is being remodeled to accommodate socially distanced in-the-round performances to a capacity just north of 500.
The Ned Bennett-helmed production was originally commissioned by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, where it premiered in 2018. Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s adaptation will be updated for 2020.
Returning on the creative team for the family favorite are set and costume designer Georgia Lowe, lighting designer Jessica Hung Han Yun, and associate director Denzel Westley-Sanderson.
“Pantomime is an essential part of the living fabric of our nation, and it is devastating that so many theatres across the country have had no choice but to postpone their pantos this year because of the unprecedented financial impact of coronavirus,” says National Theatre Director Rufus Norris. “We’ll do all we can to keep the flame alive: brilliant theatre artists will serve up a slice of joy to families on the South Bank, and we’ll be asking everyone to support their local theatres by booking ahead for their 2021 pantomimes. Of course, we hope that it will be possible for theatres to perform safely to fuller audiences long before then.”
As previously announced, the National will first welcome audiences to the Olivier stage with Death of England: Delroy, starring Hamilton Olivier Award winner Giles Terera. The Clint Dyer and Roy Williams play (a follow-up to the Rafe Spall-led Death of England) will run October 21 through November 28. The production features sets and costumes by Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and ULTZ, lighting by Jackie Shemesh, and sound design by Pete Malkin and Benjamin Grant.
Among the numerous safety measures the National will implement, in accordance with U.K. Government guidelines, are staggered arrival times, paperless tickets, pre-ordered drinks, required face coverings, and deeper cleaning and sanitzations.