‘We’re just happy the panto is going ahead’

Seán Spillane, the backstage technician at the Everyman theatre in Cork, has worked in the shadows of the Christmas panto for 20 years, though this year he feared he would not be doing so.

With theatres ordered to shut by 8pm under the latest pandemic restrictions, the Everyman has two performances daily at 2pm and 6pm, with the curtains closing at 7.30pm.

Nevertheless, Spillane is putting his best “the show must go on” confront forward.

“We’re just happy that the panto is going ahead,” he says.

Pantomime is entertainment for children but, as Spillane points out, it’s bread and butter for the crew and for the Everyman, which relies on box office sales for 80 per cent of its funding.

The Covid-19 curbs have affected not just the children in the audience, but those who would be on the stage, too. Usually, up to 80 children from CADA Performing Arts grace the stage over the time of a Christmas run in the 650-seater Victorian theatre. This year, the panto has been shortened in length, and there will be no children on stage.

Live audience

“The panto is not the same without the children,” says Spillane, but acknowledges it is nevertheless better than last year when the panto was shown online.

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