Panto, football and ticket prices

By 25 July 2022Blog, Panto

Audience development manager, Jamie Potter, explains some of the decisions we’ve made around Robin Hood, our panto this Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – panto launch day!

Yes, it’s only July and we’re all slowly digesting barbecue food, but our minds are firmly set on Christmas and the recurring matter of what costume Marc Graham will wear on the stage at Social.

Robin Hood is the story, as chosen by you, and in a year of Jubilee extravagance the script almost writes itself, as our hotshot hero gallivants around town, robbing the rich and giving it to the poor.

We can’t wait to share it with you, especially after the incredible nights we had back at Social last year. It definitely feels like panto came home.

On which note, we wanted to be open about a couple of things: football and panto ticket prices.

Marc Graham as Pattie Breadcake in Rapunz’ull (2021). Photo by Studio Blue Creative.

Football

This year we have the small matter of the men’s world cup to address, as FIFA, in a completely out-of-character episode, decided to award it to a country where it is simply too hot to play in the summer.

That meant they had to reschedule it for the winter. For December, in fact. With the final on Sunday 18. The weekend we usually open panto.

For many people, seeing the country grind to a halt to accommodate Our Boys amid endless renditions of Three Lions is a special circle of Hell that Dante could never have conjured.

We also know that many of our audience are huge football fans and, for a company who need full houses to make panto pay for itself, we can’t risk competing for people’s attention, especially with England among the favourites to lift the trophy this year.

That’s why we’ve decided to wait until the final whistle before we open Robin Hood and perform either side of Christmas, so that everybody can have the best time inside a packed out Social, cheering and booing. Like the football.

We were able to make that decision safe in the knowledge that we had your backing, thanks to the many, many people who took part in our survey about scheduling shows.

Your responses let us know there is a huge appetite for something to do in the weird week between Christmas pudding and Auld Lang Syne, so we’ve decided to fill it: with panto dames, live music and people dressed as woodland animals.

That’s the biggest response we’ve ever had to a survey and it genuinely helped us fix a problem, so we really do appreciate everybody taking the time to share their thoughts.

Andrew Ross as a squirrel in Rapunz’ull (2021). Photo by Studio Blue Creative.

Ticket prices

The other matter we wanted to be upfront about is the ticket prices, which this year are going up by £1.50 each.

Middle Child exist as a company to change who gets to see and tell their stories on stage and affordability plays a huge part in that.

Many theatre prices are simply too expensive for ordinary people and a significant barrier to attending.

That’s why we do a lot of work to provide free tickets to local charities and community groups, supported by our audiences through our solidarity ticket scheme, as well as keep ticket prices as low as possible.

We’ve blogged before about the difficulties in making subsidised theatre and how expensive it is.

This year, with inflation a word on everybody’s lips, it’s no different, which is why we’ve had to increase prices for our panto.

To balance out some of the increase though, we are able to offer the first 400 tickets on-sale, across both family and late-night shows, at last year’s prices, as an ‘early bird’ deal.

These will be available when tickets go on-sale on Monday, until the end of August or once the first 400 are snapped up – whichever comes first.

Our solidarity scheme will continue this year, so that you can chip in a little extra to help fund tickets for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to enjoy a Christmas show.

We have also been awarded funding from the Hull and East Riding Charitable Trust for our walking bus programme, to partner with a local school and bring pupils to see a show.

If you are an individual, business or charity who would like to work with us to extend our free ticket schemes, please do get in touch.

Alice Beaumont in Rapunz’ull (2021). Photo by Studio Blue Creative.

The Middle Child panto, now in its eleventh year, is one of our proudest achievements and a highlight of our programme.

We absolutely love seeing people come together, often reuniting as family and friendship groups for a Christmas ritual, to make the show their own.

Staging it is rarely easy, but that’s part of the charm: putting on a low-budget panto that’s full of heart and community and that all comes from you. We couldn’t do it without you.

See you down Humber Street in December!

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