VIDEO: Summer panto magic opens at Big Top near Skegness

It was 'one fine day' when two summer pantomimes opened under a Big Top near Skegness.

Gary Starr Pantomimes launches the first show with two matinees - Wizard the Oz - the Panto - on Thursday afternoon.

The panto based on the original Wizard of Oz book Frank Baum features all the much-loved characters along with panto fun and plenty of music to sing along to.

Then, at weekends, the audiences are being treated to a second panto - Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

The cast of Wizard of Oz - the Panto.

The Big Top is situated at the roundabout at Burgh le Marsh and the Standard went along to rehearsals ahread of opening to see how preparations were going.

Ruth Brennan, company manager for Gary Star Pantomimes said they were 'super excited' to be opening to a live audience for the summer.

"Skegness is our home town so we couldn't wait to throw those doors open and welcome out audiuences.

"The last 18 months has been incredibly hard, as it has been for a lot of theatres having to closedoors and c ancel shows because of the pandemic.

"But at Gary Star Pantomimes we have been able to work and be Covid compliant and be incredibly safe with the shows we have managed to put out.

"At Christmas we were lucky to partner with Parking Lot Social and were able to tour the entire UK and Scotland throughout the entire month of December so we were able to do our Christmas pantos. And we did the same at Easter as well.

"We also did a lot of online content as well - and find ways to not only keep us in work but all the actors on our books.

"It's not the easiest of times but you have to find a way through it and stay positive."

Along with the nine main characters in the pantos are members of the Rollason Stage School based in Dersingham, Norfolk - students of the company's pro-dancer Lucy Rollason - who play the Munchkins.

Efforts have been made so the 350-seat Big Top is Covid-safe, with social distancing in place and members of the audience being asked to wear masks.

Similar preparations are being made at the company's 72-seat Neverland Theatre in Skegness, which re-opens with Edinburgh Fringe comedian Troy Hawke on August 7.

To book a ticket for the pantomimes visit http://www.garystarrpantomimes.co.uk/bigtop/Tickets are also available at the booking office at the Big Top.

Bookings for shows at the Neverland Theatre in Skegness can be made by visiting http://www.neverlandtheatre.co.uk/