Chelmsford City Council has issued a statement about Jack and the Beanstalk, this year’s pantomime.
“Chelmsford City Council has been forced to make the very difficult decision to cancel this year’s pantomime at Chelmsford Theatre because of delays to the theatre’s refurbishment.
Over the last few months we’ve been carrying out vital improvement works which will transform our tired-looking theatre and give it a much better chance of being commercially viable in the future. We had planned for all this to be finished in time for our annual pantomime, but it’s difficult to renovate old buildings at the best of times, and as many of us are finding, this year is proving even more challenging than most.
Like so many other construction projects right across the country, we’ve had to contend with the worst delays to supplies and materials we’ve ever experienced on a project of this kind. Add to this all the surprises that have been thrown up by renovation works to two different period buildings, and we sadly find ourselves in a position where we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to open in time for panto.
Over the last few weeks we’ve wracked our brains to think of ways we might be able to make our panto happen, even considering taking it on the road to another of our venues. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t been possible to make any of these options work. Most of these alternatives are simply too disruptive and too expensive at a time when councils are facing stark choices about their funding.
We think it’s unlikely that things will change in time for panto, and we want to let you know about this now, so that you have time to find seats for another production. For many of us, a trip to a pantomime is one of the highlights of Christmas, and we don’t think it would be right to wait any longer, hoping that the situation might change.
If you have a booking with us, Chelmsford Theatre will be in touch this week. We’d love it if you might consider transferring your tickets to our 2023 panto, but we completely understand if you’d prefer a refund instead.
We hope you understand, although we do know how disappointed you will be. Our city deserves a great theatre. It’s been hard to make changes during such a turbulent time, and although this delay isn’t what we would have wanted, this essential investment will give our theatre the best possible chance to thrive in the future.
We can’t wait to welcome you back to the theatre you deserve in early 2023.”