The National Lottery has unveiled a new scheme to help support pantomime productions across the country this winter.
As part of the scheme, dubbed "Operation Sleeping Beauty" by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, seats that need to remain empty will be brought by the National Lottery to ensure that productions are financially viable, while still enforcing social distancing.
Pantoland at The London Palladium will be the first to use the system, and this week announced they are hosting a star-studded variety panto this winter. The National Lottery will also be making tickets available for people to win, as well as exclusive prizes like the chance to sit in the box at the Palladium.
Dowden said: "Today, we launch Operation Sleeping Beauty. We must hope for the best and plan for the worst. Our hope is to get some panto back on this Christmas, and despite the very challenging backdrop we are going to give it our best shot. We have already supported the sector with our £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund and I'm grateful to National Lottery players for helping to make this happen."
It’s unclear how many venues will be supported by the scheme, given that many have already made the decision to postpone their annual pantos.
More details of the scheme, including the list of participating venues, are expected in the coming weeks.