Nothing is more traditional than a Christmas show, and the Lyric Hammersmith will be putting on a show and inviting families to join them from their sofa.
The West London theatre is filming its production of Raymond Briggs’ classic Father Christmas, which it will stream to audiences in the comfort of their own homes.
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The show has delighted audiences at the theatre for the last eight years.
Whilst it is unlikely that many theatres will reopen before the end of the year, because of the pandemic, the Lyric was determined that the show must go on.
It has teamed up with other theatres and productions companies around the UK, including the Oxford Playhouse, Tobacco Factory Theatres Bristol, the Wales Millennium Centre and Pins & Needles in Bristol, to put on and record the show.
It will run from December 9 to Christmas Eve. Ticket holders will be able to watch the show as many times as they like.
The theatres will also give free tickets to selected local outreach and community groups that they work with.
It comes after the 125-year-old Lyric Theatre exceeded its £50,000 crowdfunding target. It made an appeal to fans after losing three quarters of its income and began drawing on its reserves.
The theatre has support from Hammersmith and Fulham Council. Its neighbours at Kings Mall shopping centre also stepped in with a £30,000 donation.
Rachel O’Riordan, the Lyric’s artistic director, said: “It means so much to us to be able to offer our audiences Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas this year and to be able to share this bloomin’ marvellous production with our partner venues.
“This has been a challenging year for all of us, but it is through innovative and collaborative partnerships such as this that together we will ensure we return stronger and continue to deliver the magic of theatre to our communities.”
The show also means that creatives, including puppeteers and designers, can get involved.
The theatre world has been hit hard by the shutdown, with thousands of people on freelance contracts nationwide losing their livelihoods.
Uncertainty around Covid forced the Lyric to put the pantomime on hold this year.
Its team had to decide by August whether it could go ahead with a panto, which would have involved commissioning a special script complete with local references, building sets, creating costumes and carrying out rehearsals.
Tickets for the streaming of Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas cost £10 or £15 for a family or group ticket.
They can be booked via the theatre’s website.
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