POPULAR demand will see panto returning to the region’s biggest theatre this Christmas following a pair of panto-less years.
Sunderland Empire has announced it is to present Peter Pan from December 13 to January 6, 2013.
No cast details have been released, but theatre management promise “spectacular costumes and sets, stunning effects, hilarious jokes, song, dance and lots of audience participation”.
Last year, the venue staged Legally Blonde, the West End musical, while the year before saw White Christmas, based on the classic film starring Bing Crosby, as the theatre’s main festive season attraction.
It is a quick return for Peter, Wendy and the Neverland characters because Peter Pan was the last panto the venue staged, back in 2009 when John Challis – Boycie from Only Fools and Horses – played Captain Hook and local lad James Baxter was Peter Pan.
It is good news for the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London which benefits from every performance of Peter Pan, adapted from the book by JM Barrie .
Empire general manager Ben Phillips said: “Sunderland has been without a pantomime in recent years and it is with great pleasure that we welcome Peter Pan for the festivities.
“Overwhelming feedback from our customers is that a Christmas show or pantomime rather than a West End/Broadway musical is a preference for Christmas time.
“Since I took over as general manager in July 2011, I have received numerous letters regarding this and when I tell people where I work, I always get asked the question.”
Peter Pan comes from UK Productions which has served the theatre with shows including 42nd Street and Beauty and the Beast.
Tickets go on sale on Friday. Book via 0844 871 3022 or www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland