Arts & Culture

Pantomimes forced to move due to concrete safety fears

Featured Image: Felix Polgar on Unsplash

With pantomime season sneaking up on audiences, provincial theatres across the UK have been deemed unsafe after the detection of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (also known as Raac), meaning shows have been forced to relocate. 

According to a report from the Guardian, venues in Motherwell, Carlisle, Cardiff, Peterborough, Dartford and Redhill have been deemed unsafe following the detection of Raac.

The Core Theatre in Solihull announced its closure last month after Raac was found during an inspection, meaning this year’s Jack and the Beanstalk was at risk. Similar council-owned venues in England, Scotland and Wales built between the mid-1950s and mid-1990s were subjected to similar surveys over ageing material.

Elsewhere, Cumberland Council closed the Sands Centre in Carlisle, with shows cancelled until the end of next year, and the Forum Theatre in Stockport is waiting on a surveyor’s report before reopening. St David’s Hall in Cardiff will remain closed until the new year, after shutting its doors in September.

The Theatres Trust has also said that it knows of at least 14 venues that have had to shut during this time of year, which is traditionally financially important for many smaller theatres.

Pantomimes have been forced to move on to new venues, with Solihull’s Jack and the Beanstalk celebrating a near-happy ending by moving to the Artrix arts centre in Bromsgrove.

Elsewhere, another production of Jack and the Beanstalk was forced out of its home at Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre, relocating to the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility.

Productions of Beauty and the Beast in the south of England have also been transferred, with one set to be staged in a pop up circus tent.