Athlone panto postponed 'with great regret' due to spiralling Covid cases

The escalation in Covid-19 cases over the Christmas period has resulted in the postponement of the Athlone panto, which was due to be held over two weekends in January at the Dean Crowe Theatre.

In a statement issued at lunchtime today, the venue said it was "with great regret" that it had taken the decision not to go ahead with the Robin Hood-themed show.

It said not proceeding with the performances had always been a last resort, but the current public health situation meant the safety measures in place for the production would not be enough to mitigate the potential risks to the cast, crew, staff, volunteers and audiences.

Eight performances of the panto had been scheduled to take place in front of a 50% capacity audience in the theatre. The shows were to have been held at 1.30pm and 5.30pm during both the Saturdays and Sundays of January 8 and 9, and January 15 and 16.

The venue said all ticket holders would be issued with refunds and would be contacted directly in the coming days.

Here is the full statement from the Dean Crowe Theatre today:

"It is with great regret that we announce that the Dean Crowe Panto, Robin Hood, has been postponed.

"We have assessed the potential risks to our cast, crew, staff, volunteers and audiences on a regular basis. We have rescheduled and adapted the production a number of times in response to public health circumstances and relevant government restrictions. Postponement has always been a last resort.

"However, with national Covid-19 case numbers now at record highs, we have reached a point where we cannot impose enough controls and contingencies to mitigate the risks involved.

"This is not a decision that we take lightly but our ongoing pledge to everybody who works with us and attends our events is that we will only proceed with events when we are confident that they can be managed safely.

"We apologise to our loyal customers for the inconvenience and disappointment that this will cause for lots of families. All tickets will be refunded and all customers will be contacted directly in the coming days.

"The entire cast and crew have worked extremely hard pouring their energy and creativity into this production for the last several months. We will store that magic and you will see it on our stage before long.

"Sincere thanks to our audiences, funders and stakeholders for your ongoing support during this very challenging period during which the basic model of our existence as been threatened. We will continue to survive, adapt and overcome.

"With every best wish for 2022, The Dean Crowe Team."