Sleeping Trees Company

Christmas shows and pantos make a return this winter in South West London

Christmas shows and pantomimes are making a return to South West London this winter, after a difficult journey with Covid-19.

Families across London will be buzzing with excitement to welcome back these iconic Christmas shows that are intrinsic to the festive season. 

The Rose Theatre in Kingston has been producing an annual Christmas show for around seven years, which usually consists of an adaptation of a classical story with it’s own unique touch. 

This year they will be kicking-starting their Christmas with a production of Beauty and the Beast, which has been in the making since the beginning of 2020 after being cancelled last Christmas due to Covid-19.

Lucy Morrell, director of the Beauty and the Beast production, said: “What I love about The Rose’s Christmas show is that it is our biggest show of the year and it is so important because it brings together the community.

“It was really heartbreaking to have to call off the Christmas show last year, but it was always going to be a postponement rather than a complete cancellation, which gave us something to look forward to.” 

The Rose Theatre were able to support their staff throughout the pandemic with no redundancies made, although unfortunately this was not the case for many within the arts sector. 

However, there will be a sense of relief and excitement emanating from the industry this winter as Christmas shows and pantomimes emerge from the rubble of Coronavirus. 

Beauty and the Beast at The Rose Theatre, Kingston. Photo by: Seamus Ryan

Morrell added: “It feels so joyful to be in a rehearsal room, it is amazing!

“It is filled with people that have not been able to work so they are all just buzzing to be back and doing the amazing things that they do, from the stage management team to all of our designers.

“It is a real buzzing energy of excitement, it is really lovely!” 

This excitement is also reflected with the Sleeping Trees company who are performing their original Sleeping Beauty and The Beast pantomime at the Battersea Arts Centre this Christmas.

This will be the fourth Sleeping Trees pantomime mash-up in which they fuse together two classic children’s stories.

This pantomime was scheduled to be performed last Christmas, however it was cancelled due to the pandemic. 

The cast expressed that the production has massively benefitted from the extra time, as they have been able to pay it more love and attention.

Sleeping Trees were also able to adapt their talent and perform an online production last Christmas that people could watch from the comfort of their own living room. 

They all expressed their excitement to be back on stage, performing pantomimes to a tangible audience this Christmas.

The cast of Sleeping Beauty and the Beast. Photo by Piers Allardyce

Josh George Smith, co-director of Sleeping Trees company and Sleeping Beauty and the Beast cast member and co-writer, said: “I think in the UK, Christmas shows and pantomimes are such a huge part of what people do at Christmas time. 

“It is nice to be adding to that in a slightly alternative way, we are not the traditional pantomime but it is really nice to be a part of that.

“This is a very busy time for us, but it is so nice that theatre is something that is synonymous with Christmas!”

The past 18 months have been exceedingly difficult for members of the arts industry, with uncertainty and anxiety about impending government restrictions at every turn.

The return of Christmas shows and pantomimes are certainly a bright light at the end of a very long tunnel both for theatres and the public.

Featured Image by Piers Allardyce

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