Cancelled pantomime: ‘We gave it our best shot and it just wasn’t to be ’

Aladdin among productions cancelled due to rising Covid-19 cases

The cast and crew of the pantomime Aladdin had no choice but to cancel it because of the rising Covid-19 numbers, Alan Hughes has said.

Mr Hughes, the well-known television presenter, and his husband Karl Broderick have been staging Aladdin at the National Stadium in Dublin.

They tried to carry on with the numbers being restricted to 50 per cent and with a curfew for indoor events of 8pm, but now say it is “impossible” to continue.

Mr Hughes explained: “We gave it our best shot and it just wasn’t to be this year. We really did try, we put in every safety measure.


“We had a close contact which we thought with the older rules of the five days, that we could open again, but the new rules came in that if you weren’t boosted you had to restrict your movements for 10 days.”

Mr Hughes added that there had been increasing concern among families about the wisdom of attending the panto with numbers so high.

"If you have politicians saying that we might have record cases this week, we just couldn't stand over the fact that we would be asking families to come into a theatre with maybe record cases in the country - all that factored against us and we just had to make a very very difficult decision yesterday," he told Morning Ireland.

“It’s just been one thing after another, we tried to keep the show on the road just this year, but everything has beaten us in the end.”

Mr Hughes, however, did acknowledge the financial support put in place by the Government to support events that could not could go ahead because of the restrictions. “Hopefully we won’t come out of this too badly,” he said.

Olly, Polly and the Beanstalk at the Olympia Theatre produced by Pat Egan and Spotlight has been cancelled. It was due to begin on December 22nd and end on January 9th.

In Galway the annual Renmore Panto, which was scheduled to take place at the Town Hall Theatre, has been cancelled because of Covid-19 as have Dundalk Musical Society's performance of Cinderella.

Other pantomimes, as of now, are continuing. The Little Mermaid at the Gaiety Theatre will continue with half capacity and new times to reflect the fact that all indoor events must be finished by 8pm.

Similarly, Little Red Riding at Dublin City University’s Helix Theatre is continuing at half capacity until January 9th.

The Everyman Theatre in Cork has brought forward performances of Aladdin to 6pm, but is otherwise continuing as normal until January 9th.

Limerick's A Lot Like Christmas show at University Concert Hall will go ahead between December 27th and 31st with shows at 2.30pm and 5.30pm.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times