Pantomime returns to Birmingham in January with socially-distanced performances

The Black Country's Doreen Tipton will be reunited on stage with Sooty in the West Midlands in pantomime in January.

Doreen Tipton
Doreen Tipton

Doreen and Sooty previously starred together at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre's 2018 Sleeping Beauty pantomime – and will be reunited in the New Year for a socially-distanced pantomime.

Birmingham Hippodrome and Qdos Entertainment have announced today that their pantomime will be going ahead with a production of Robin Hood in January – starring Craig Revel Hoorwood, Doreen Tipton and Matt Slack.

The socially-distanced, one-act production will temporarily change venues to the nearby Alexandra between January 15 and 31.

Robin Hood will run at the Alexandra in Birmingham in January

The pantomime will star Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood as the Sheriff of Nottingham, alongside Hippodrome pantomime favourite Matt Slack, Richard Cadell and Sooty, and Black Country comedian Doreen Tipton.

The production is able to go ahead thanks to the support of the National Lottery, which will give thousands of theatregoers, in Birmingham and across the country, the change to enjoy socially-distanced pantomimes over the Christmas period. The show is being staged as a result of an initiative between The National Lottery and Qdos Entertainment which is providing financial support for theatres to stage socially-distanced, live pantomimes this festive season.

Craig Revel Horwood

This will make it viable for venues to open their doors to the general public, generating vital income for the theatres and helping to restore jobs while providing much-needed cheer for pantomime lovers.

Robin Hood marks Craig Revel Horwood's 12th consecutive pantomime for Qdos Entertainment – having starred as a Wicked Queen, a Wicked Stepmother and Captain Hook in Snow White, Cinderella and Peter Pan respectively.

Matt Slack will star as Robin Hood, while Richard Cadell stars as Will Scarlet and Doreen Tipton stars as Mrs Tuck. Joining them will be pantomime dame and Hippodrome regular Andrew Ryan and West End musical leading ladies Landi Oshinowo, Nicola Meehan and Lauren Chia.

Fiona Allen, artistic director and chief executive for Birmingham Hippodrome, and Michael Harrison, Qdos Entertainment managing director, said: "We are delighted to be working together to make sure that our loyal audiences in Birmingham don’t miss out on the magic of pantomime this year.

Matt Slack

"Presenting Robin Hood at The Alexandra allows us to see two of the city’s key cultural institutions open with social distancing in place. Although on a different stage, this year’s show will be designed and created by the usual Hippodrome panto creative team, and will feature all the comedy and laughter our audiences have come to expect."

Lisa Mart, theatre director at the Alexandra, added: "Words can’t quite express how thrilled we are to be working with Qdos Entertainment and our friends at Birmingham Hippodrome to bring this much-loved annual tradition back to the city this festive season. This cross-venue collaboration is one of many examples of cultural organisations in Birmingham working together to provide audiences with entertainment during what has been a challenging time for the sector.

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"We are incredibly grateful to the National Lottery for their support, without which we would not have been able to proceed. The opportunity to bring our team back to the venue to prepare for this special socially-distanced experience is the Christmas present we have all been dreaming of."

The previously advertised production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, starring Jason Donovan and Matt Slack, will be back at the Birmingham Hippodrome in December 2021.

Tickets for Robin Hood will be on general sale from Wednesday. To book tickets, visit atgtickets.com/birmingham or call 0844 871 7615.

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