DID you think that panto season was behind you this Christmas? Oh no it’s not.

To keep festive spirit going in difficult times, the UK’s first ‘digital pantomime’ has been announced and it will be streaming into living rooms this December with a Stockton Heath actor among the leads.

Sleeping Beauty, which was originally filmed live at The Brindley in Runcorn, has been remastered for online audiences and proceeds will be going to UK charities. Former Bridgewater High student Chris Pym stars as Prince Harry alongside Crissy Rock as Fairy Nuff and Rebecca Lake as Princess Aurora.

Struggling artists put out of work by the pandemic and events venues closed this Christmas will benefit from ticket sales with funds split between the Actors’ Benevolent Fund and the Equity Benevolent Fund. Mencap, Great Ormond Street and Cancer Research UK will also receive money from their own ticket sales for the event while theatres promoting the show to their supporters are being offered a share from ticket sales they generate.

Chris said: “Many actors are finding the current climate very tough and we were devastated to hear this September that live pantomimes were not going ahead, so it was amazing to hear that our production of Sleeping Beauty was chosen to be streamed to the nation.

“It feels so good to be able to bring some fun entertainment and tradition into people’s homes this Christmas.

Warrington Guardian:

“By digitising Sleeping Beauty we can bring the magic of musical theatre to families as well as the benefits of offering charities and out-of-work actors the capacity to raise much needed funds this year.”

The two-hour show filmed during a sell-out run is packed with everything audiences will love, from spectacular scenery, special effects and extravagant costumes to family-friendly slapstick and topical jokes.

Karen Courtney, a veteran pantomime producer, founded The Original Online Panto Company when she got the feeling a ‘happy ever after’ for the arts sector and events industry was a long way off

She then decided to digitise Sleeping Beauty in the wake of the second lockdown.

Karen said: “This year, I’ve seen colleagues, friends, theatres and the creative industries suffer and I wanted to do something to support them and help the charity sector while keeping the panto season alive. We had weeks to turn this around and what we’ve made is incredible, working with a fantastic production of Sleeping Beauty by Polka Dot Pantomimes.

“The most important thing to all of us involved is to ensure that charities who need the funding the most benefit from the sales of these tickets.

“If you’re reading this and you have a theatre, a charity, or maybe you’re a performer who has had a tough year, why not get involved promoting what we hope will become the biggest pantomime production in the world, seen by millions while raising funds for your cause?

“People of every age will love this production and hopefully everyone buying tickets will feel happier this Christmas knowing they’ve supported UK charities and the arts.”

Chris added: “All of us in pantomime are now looking towards spring for the possibility of performing in live shows, I am particularly hoping to be able to join in the cast of The Wizard of Oz and looking forward to performing to live audiences again.”

The viewing period for Sleeping Beauty is between December 14 and January 3.

Tickets are available for £15.49 per household and your link to the performance will be valid for four days from your first viewing. Visit theoriginalonlinepantocompany.com for more information