A POPULAR pantomime will not be taking place this Christmas amid uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic.

Darlington Hippodrome says it will put on its production of Cinderella in 2021 instead. 

Programming and development director Heather Tarran-Jones said: “Pantomime is one of the most exciting times of year here at the Hippodrome and we’ll miss seeing theatregoers of all ages enjoying what is always a highly-entertaining festive treat.

"But we now look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2021 for what promises to be a spectacular return for our famous panto.”

Carry On and Confessions film star Robin Askwith, who was in the show last year, said: "So sorry to hear about this year's pantomime postponement at the Hippodrome.

"It's no secret that Darlington is one of my favourite venues and I'm awash with some great supporters and friends there. I know one thing for sure and that is, once this has passed, the spirit and force of Darlo will be behind the return of this fantastic arena, and let's not forget The Forum."

The theatre said it had taken the decision, alongside producers Qdos Entertainment, to postpone the pantomime because of uncertainty around when theatres will be able to re-open without social distancing. 

Cinderella will be put instead for the 2020/2021 festive season. 

Councillor Andy Keir said: “Pantomime has been integral part of the Darlington Hippodrome programme since its very early days.

"It’s unfortunate but necessary that it’s postponed this year, but we look forward to welcoming it back bigger and better than ever next year”.

The pantomime had been due to run from Saturday, December 5 until Sunday, January 3.

The cast had yet to be announced.

A spokesperson for the Hippodrome, said: "During the Hippodrome’s closure period, Hippodrome staff have greatly appreciated the support and patience displayed by customers as they face a difficult and complex period with a reduced team.

"Cinderella ticket holders will be contacted as soon as possible with details on how they can move their 2020/2021 tickets into 2021."

If customers prefer a full refund, then can contact the theatre on 01325 405 405 (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm) or email hippodrome.boxoffice@darlington.gov.uk.