Plans cancelled for 2021 panto

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It is with deep regret that Gabriola Players has to announce that, for the second year in a row, we will not be performing a panto at the Community Hall in the run up to Christmas.

We had planned to produce Peter Pan the Panto by Lesley Hazeldine, local author of the popular 2018 panto Pirates of Nursery Rhyme Island.

Happier times: The grand finale of Pirates of Nursery Rhyme Island in 2018.

 Many safety protocols were planned, including a requirement that anyone seeking a role on or off stage provide proof of full vaccination.

That was before the Delta variant began sweeping through the province, dramatically spreading through, primarily, the unvaccinated population. Under the circumstances, many backstage stalwarts were reluctant to sign up for a show this year and it seemed increasingly unlikely that auditions would attract enough people to play the numerous wacky characters that feature in any panto. Added to which was the growing likelihood that the production might be shut down halfway through the rehearsal process and never make it to the stage.

In making her decision not to proceed with plans for the show, writer and director Hazeldine said: “The panto is the highlight of the Gabriola Players’ entertainment year. It requires a strong backstage team and a host of hilarious actors. My dream is to see Peter Pan The Panto come alive on stage, but this is not the right year to produce it. The big black cloud of Covid-19 looms above us all. The health and safety of everyone involved is paramount and that is why I decided to postpone the production. It was a gut wrenching decision, but the right one. Thank you to all those who jumped in to support me during the early planning stage. Peter Pan The Panto will be performed, but at a time when its mounting and performance can be as joyful and playful as possible.”

Peter Pan will indeed turn up at the Community Hall, but not this winter.

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