The genie of the lamp has granted a wish to north-east youngsters who want to see a panto this Christmas.
Aberdeen Arts Centre and TaleGate Theatre Productions are offering a free video stream of Aladdin, their hit pantomime from last year, to schools in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Already, some 90 schools have signed up for the festive treat, which is aimed to soften the blow of missing out on live pantos cancelled this year due to current coronavirus restrictions.
It means hundreds of children can enjoy the show – complete with songs, slapstick, silliness, audience participation, and an Aberdonian Dame – from the comfort and safety of their own classrooms during December, said Arts Centre manager, Stephanie Walls.
“As we await further announcements from the Scottish Government, we wanted to explore alternative ways of bringing the magic of theatre and some much-needed Christmas fun to the children of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire,” she said.
“Starring a talented professional cast of local actors, our fairytale performance of Aladdin is bursting with fun and silliness. Children can follow our hero, Aladdin, and his troublesome mum, Widow McTwankey, on a journey full of Eastern promise with a sprinkling of Aberdonian charm.”
Stephanie said the centre is also working behind-the-scenes with TaleGate to produce a live panto for socially-distanced audiences, if restrictions allow.
She said: “Our team has been working hard for the last few months to adapt our theatre to allow for socially distanced performances to take place. Deep cleaning and one-way systems are already in place, so we’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as we enter the required tier level to open our auditorium.”
James Worthington, of TaleGate Theatre Productions, said being able to offer a filmed version of Aladdin to schools for free was “wonderful.”
“This year has been tough on us all, and it is vital that children can laugh out loud at their annual festive treat. It highlights the important role that entertainment, and in particular Aberdeen Arts Centre, plays within the community.
“Working with Aberdeen Arts Centre on last year’s panto was magical and we would like to thank all of the team, including the talented cast, for making this possible.”
Any schools or nurseries wishing to take part should email Stephanie at email@example.com. The offer is open only to schools and not to the general public.