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Published: July 21, 2020 | Updated: July 21, 2020

The show WILL go on as swash-buckling – but socially distanced – summer panto returns…

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Record-breaking summer pantomine ‘Pirates of the Pavilion’ is to return to Weymouth next month – but in a new home.

Oh, yes it is…!

Blandford-based Made to Measure Productions and Weymouth Pavilion have announced a new partnership with Weymouth’s heritage attraction, Nothe Fort.

It means the summer panto can return to the resort for its seventh, albeit socially distanced, season.

With theatres and other performance venues around the country facing prolonged closure due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the new association will see the pirates embarking on a brand new adventure.

It is specifically written for the unique performance space within Nothe Fort, ensuring locals and tourists alike can enjoy family entertainment just when they need it most.

To ensure government guidelines are adhered to, the audience will watch the show from socially-distanced seats, allowing family groups to sit together while maintaining a safe distance from other audience members.

Hand sanitiser stations will be positioned around the fort.

Booking is via the Weymouth Pavilion website.

Digital or print-at-home tickets will be scanned on arrival, before audience members are shown to their seats by Nothe Fort and Weymouth Pavilion staff and volunteers.

Further details on the safe operation of the event can be found on the Made to Measure website.

Pirates of the Pavilion is being staged by the same team behind Weymouth’s popular Christmas Pantomime.

It will star the usual cast from Pirates of the Pavilion, alongside Christmas panto favourites Gwynfryn West as the villain, Captain Blackhead, and Luke Attwood as the dame, Mrs Filibuster.

Lee Redwood, Writer and Director of the show said: “In a period of much uncertainty for theatrical and arts organisations around the world, it’s wonderful to know that creative innovation and collaboration have allowed us to bring our unique summer pantomime back to Weymouth for yet another summer season.

“Many theatres around the country are in an impossible position due to the pandemic, and in order to survive we have to think outside-the-box.

“In this instance, we have been able to think ‘outside-the-theatre’ and are delighted to be working alongside Weymouth Pavilion and Nothe Fort on this very exciting project.

“It will not only be supporting two hugely popular local leisure businesses, but also offer the general public the entertainment that they have been craving – you can’t get this on Netflix!”

Liam Mellor who plays Seadog Billy and Isla Rose (Pirate Poppy).

James Farquharson, Chair of Nothe Fort, said: “Pirates of the Pavilion is a much-loved feature of sunny summer holidays in Weymouth.

“The Nothe Fort team are so pleased to be able to help this family fun continue.

“The fort’s parade ground is a fantastic space for community events, as last year’s Museum of the Moon proved, and we will be able to offer a wide range of cover-safe features.”

Ticket sales are said to have been excellent since going on sale last Thursday.

The performance itself will last for one hour without an interval.

However, the audience will be able to join in the fun from an hour before the show even begins with interactive warm-ups, a pirate quiz and the chance to learn how to become a Pavilion Pirate themselves.

“Pirates of the Pavilion – Live at Nothe Fort!” will be performed twice daily from August 17 to 23 at 4:30pm and 7:30pm each day.

Audiences can gain access to the fort from one hour prior to the performance with an interactive warm-up taking place from 30 minutes prior to show time.

Tickets cost £15.00 each and are available online at www.weymouthpavilion.com