Panto - oh no it’s not!

Picture: CUMBERNAULD. Cumbernauld Theatre, Christmas show cast. Back L-R: Peter Callaghan & Tyler Collins, Middle L-R: Natalie Wallace, Belle Jones, Front: Kim Allan.
Picture: CUMBERNAULD. Cumbernauld Theatre, Christmas show cast. Back L-R: Peter Callaghan & Tyler Collins, Middle L-R: Natalie Wallace, Belle Jones, Front: Kim Allan.

CUMBERNAULD schoolchildren had their pantomime dreams dashed – after being seated at a popular local venue only to be told that the performance would not take place.

Pupils from Cumbernauld Primary were bussed to Cumbernauld Theatre on Tuesday, December 18, for a treat they’d looked forward to for weeks – a performance of The Night Before Christmas.

As the youngsters waited in the auditorium for curtain up, the mood turned from excitement to disappointment after a member of staff addressed the crowd.

The staff member told them that one of the cast was ill so the show could not go ahead.

The stunned young theatre
-goers had no option but to file out of the auditorium and return to school. A second performance later in the day was also shelved.

However, the cancellation has sparked fury amongst parents who believe that the theatre has some making up to do.

One father-of-two said: “I’m gutted for the kids. By all accounts they were all ready for the panto – having got coaches organised and paid for – then it was announced it couldn’t go ahead.

“Hopefully the theatre will make it up to the kids. With any luck they won’t have to shell out again for buses, which can be really expensive,” he added.

A spokesperson for Cumbernauld Theatre said: “We apologise to everyone affected and for the disappointment caused. In over ten years we had never cancelled a show due to illness and the decision to do so is always the absolute last resort when no other options remain.

“The cancellation occurred just before the start of the show when it was clear one of our actors was so ill that they were unable to even stand up. The actor was immediately taken to Kildrum Health Centre and was signed off sick by a doctor.

“Our staff immediately spoke to the teachers on the day and offered a full ticket refund or exchange and our sincere apologies, explaining the unique circumstances. “The theatre has subsequently spoken with the head teacher, a full ticket refund has already been issued, and we are continuing to speak with the school to reach the best possible conclusion,” she added.

A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council education department confirmed “We are currently in discussion with the theatre about making arrangements to attend another show among other matters.”