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News: County Durham Theatres’ Christmas wishes are granted with panto success

County Durham Theatres’ Christmas wishes are granted with panto success

Two County Durham theatres are celebrating the end of a magical pantomime season as the curtains fall on their most successful Christmas shows ever.

Durham City’s Gala Theatre attracted record audience numbers for both its pantomime and under fives Christmas show.

A total of 33,541 people enjoyed 76 performances of the genie-us family pantomime Aladdin, which also received rave reviews across the north east, making it the most popular pantomime the theatre has ever presented.

The venue’s Christmas show for younger children, One More Sleep, also charmed theatre-goers with more than 5,000 people turning out for 66 performances.

Robin Byers, Gala Theatre manager, said: “We’re thrilled with the success of our Christmas shows this year. Not only have they enjoyed excellent sales, but the feedback from the press and public has been hugely positive too. The fantastic turnout for the pantomime has made Aladdin our most successful Christmas show since Gala opened in 2002, which is testament to all the hard work the team put in creating our Christmas shows. We’re very proud of our in-house productions; we love sharing them with our audiences and we’re delighted to see people enjoying them.”

Tickets are on sale now for Gala’s 2020 pantomime Robin Hood, which sees the return of writers, directors and firm family favourites Neil Armstrong and Paul Hartley. The duo promise more fun and mayhem as they head for Sherburn Forest to tell the tale of heroic outlaw Robin Hood, his merry men (and women), and his battles with the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

Robin Hood runs from Wednesday 25 November 2020 to Sunday 10 January 2021. Tickets are on sale now and tickets bought for performances between Wednesday 25 November and Friday 18 December can benefit from an early bird discount if purchased by Friday 31 January.

Tickets can be booked in person at the Gala box office, by calling 03000 266 600 or online at

Consett’s Empire Theatre also enjoyed a fairy-tale ending to its run of family pantomime Snow White, with record audience numbers beating all previous pantomimes at the venue.

Families flocked to watch the 37 performances, which were enjoyed by more than 13,700 people.

Work has already begun on this year’s pantomime, which has been announced as swashbuckling adventure, Treasure Island.

The ‘Yo-Ho-Ho’ panto, which runs from Saturday 28 November to Thursday 31 December 2020, will mark the 10th anniversary of The Empire Theatre’s partnership with producer and director Leah Bell. To celebrate, audiences can purchase discounted tickets for the opening performance for just £10.

Nicola Dailly, arts programme manager at The Empire Theatre and Cinema, said: “Our audiences love Leah’s shows, which are always packed full of adventure, magic, dazzling costumes and hilarious characters. We’re looking forward to working with her again.  Tickets for Treasure Island are already selling fast, so I’d encourage people to book early to avoid disappointment.”

Tickets can be booked in person at the Empire box office, by calling 03000 262 400 or online at

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