'Oh yes they will, oh no they won't' — will the pantos go ahead?

'Oh yes they will, oh no they won't' — will the pantos go ahead?

Ciaran Bermingham as panto dame Widow Mary Twanky. Picture: Larry Cummins

Uncertainty lingers over festive holiday pantomimes following the National Public Health Emergency Team's (Nphet) latest advice.

Nphet has warned against indoor community activities for younger children for at least the next two weeks.

This would include Christmas plays, communions, indoor playdates, sleepovers, birthday parties, and the much-loved holiday tradition of pantomimes. 

The University Concert Hall (UCH) Limerick is due to host its family show A Lot Like Christmas from December 27 to 31. 

The show, which is to be presented by UCH and Robert C Kelly, tells the story of The Snowman.

However, a spokesperson for UCH said: “The latest guidelines are a concern for us. We have just reopened to full capacity, and the messaging is not encouraging to audiences.

“As an industry that has just opened and is still in recovery we are naturally very worried about our Christmas events.” 

Nanny Nellie's Adventures in Pantoland, which runs from December 9 to January 9 at the Cork Opera House, is unmissable for many children and families looking to keep up with their holiday traditions.

Directed by Trevor Ryan, this year's show had already been altered with Covid in mind.

According to Cork Opera House’s website, this year’s panto will be a 75-minute show without an interval. Organisers are confident that the show will go on, despite the latest advice.

A spokesperson for Cork Opera House said: "Rehearsals are continuing for Nanny Nelly’s Adventures in Pantoland at Cork Opera House. 

"We are continuing to put the necessary arrangements in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience at the Panto and we are looking forward to welcoming patrons of all ages to the show.

“We are monitoring the public health situation closely and we remain optimistic that we will be able to share this brilliant show with the people of Cork this Christmas.” 

When asked whether parents should take their children to Christmas pantomimes this weekend, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it would be a personal choice.

"In terms of advice, it is for parents to make their own decisions in relation to how they raise their families," he said.

Mr Varadkar said the Government is advising children aged five and 11 to reduce their number of social interactions. 

"School is fine. Home is fine. But I think other forms of mixing probably isn't a good idea at this moment in time."

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