The Everyman Theatre’s pantomime this year could be cancelled or reduced.
Chief executive Mark Goucher has warned that Jack and the Beanstalk at the Cheltenham venue could be scrapped due to social distancing making it hard to make enough money.
He was speaking on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, ahead of tomorrow when theatres can reopen if they want to as coronavirus restrictions continue to be eased.
Many in Gloucestershire have decided not to do so yet and Mr Goucher said the Everyman’s main money spinner, its annual pantomime between November and January, might not happen as planned.
He said the show, for which quite a lot of tickets had already been sold, was “at the moment in doubt”.
Last year’s pantomime cost £650,000 to put on, with the theatre taking £950,000 and so making a £300,000 profit.
Mr Goucher said the money had helped the theatre out through the rest of this year.
But social distancing measures now required in theatres meant Jack and the Beanstalk might only be performed in front of 200 people in the 700-seat auditorium.
If that happened, it would only take £200,000 and it meant he faced having to make “a really tough economic decision” in September.
He said: “There is no magic number. Social distancing does not work in the theatre. We have to get butch about this and say it cannot work.”
But he said it might be possible to have a smaller production of the pantomime.
He added: “Whatever we do, Tweedy the clown will be starring if we manage to produce a show.”
Mr Goucher said he was fearful for the whole theatre industry because of the impact of the pandemic.
Although The Everyman might successfully apply to the Government for special money it had made available, it also might not. There was no guarantee, he said.
The Roses in Tewkesbury, Gloucester Guildhall and Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud have all decided against reopening for live shows for now.