Northampton's Deco theatre celebrates 'most successful pantomime season in 12 years'

Chief executive and producer, Kevin Roach, believes that this is because they have 'pleased' audiences with their approach to Covid safety measures

Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 10:15 am

The Deco Theatre in Northampton has reported 'record' sales during the Christmas period this year.

Given the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the theatre industry over the last year and a half, you can imagine how this news came as an 'unexpected surprise' for staff at The Deco Theatre.

According to the theatre's chief executive and producer Kevin Roach, more than 25,000 people have passed through their doors during the pantomime season so far, which runs from December 10 to December 31. The theatre would usually see up to 19,000 visitors over the Christmas period.

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This year's pantomime show at The Deco Theatre is Aladdin.

Kevin said: "We have had numerous positive comments on social media and this has been our most successful pantomime season in the 12 years we have been delivering this to our audience.

"I think it is because we pleased the audience with how we dealt with the pandemic."

Measures the theatre took in response to the pandemic last year included reserving seats for social distancing, asking audiences to wear facemasks and - the biggest change of all - presenting performances without intervals.

On this decision, Kevin said: "Intervals had a lot of people mixing and you can't really control that.

A photo from this year's pantomime season at The Deco Theatre.

"Everyone would come out and buy flashing wands, drinks and ice creams and things like that.

"The interval is the part of the show that would deliver us maximum sales but we wanted our audience to be safe.

"We set up a system where people could order on an app and they would be delivered to the seats so the show is actually no different in length.

"The process now is everyone is going in and leaving the theatre in the same direction. Whereas before, there were lots of people going in different directions.

"Now, you just get the odd person leaving during the show to use the toilet."

Pantomime shows at The Deco typically run for a total of one hour and 40 minutes - this has not changed with the removal of the intervals.

The theatre's maximum capacity is 925 seats; last Christmas - with mandatory social distancing in place - they could only have 350 seats.

This year, up to 850 seats can be booked with groups of over six people needing to call to book ahead. Another praise point raised by customers is how accommodating the theatre is with big groups.

Staff and performers all had to stay in a 'bubble' at Kevin's house last year so that they could safely carry out the shows together and, this year, Kevin was able to get a large house for the performers in Northampton town centre.

The Deco Theatre was one of two venues in the whole of the UK who delivered their pantomime season from start to finish in December 2020.

The venue has continued with all of their Covid safety measures this year and Kevin has told The Chronicle & Echo that theatre goers have - on the whole - welcomed them.

Kevin said: "We have had so many positive comments from people, telling us they feel safe. We did enforce checking Covid passes last weekend and we had one or two comments criticising it but the majority of people said they felt safe."

This year's pantomime show at The Deco Theatre is Aladdin. To buy tickets, visit https://www.thedeco.co.uk/