News: National Theatre panto Dick Whittington available to watch for free in December

he National Theatre is to stream Dick Whittington, for free via the National Theatre and The Shows Must Go On YouTube channels on the 23 December at 3pm GMT. The stream will then be available on demand until midnight on 27 December. The production will be filmed live during the performance in the Olivier theatre on the 19 December, in front of a socially distanced audience. Following the limited-window YouTube streams, it will then be made available on the newly launched National Theatre at Home platform from the 11 January for six weeks.

At a time when many theatres across the country have sadly been forced to cancel or postpone their pantomimes, the National Theatre is celebrating panto’s place at the heart of British theatre. The free stream of Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s hilarious version of Dick Whittington, directed by Ned Bennett, promises to provide festive fun to homes across the UK and around the world.

After a year where the UK’s theatre sector has faced unprecedented challenges, viewers will be encouraged to donate to the National Theatre or support their local theatre either with donations or by booking ahead for 2021 pantomimes.

There will also be an interactive ‘Panto Pack’ hosted on the NT website filled with engaging games and crafts for children, available to download for free.  

First staged at Lyric Hammersmith in 2018 and freshly updated for 2020, Ned Bennett directs this wild and inventive production and explores what it is like to come from a small town and arrive in a big city today. With a host of colourful characters, irreverent jokes, talking animals and popular songs this is Dick Whittington as never seen before.

Ned Bennett, Director, says: “We are incredibly excited about presenting a pantomime as it’s such a celebratory, warm and family friendly part of our theatrical history and the broadcast means it will reach an even wider audience. It feels important after everything that’s happened in 2020 to bring some joy, anarchy and silliness! There will be banging pop tunes and sensational choreography from Rhimes!”

The cast includes Melanie La Barrie as Bow Belles, Dickie Beau as Sarah, Amy Booth-Steel as Queen Rat, Laura Checkley as Mayor Pigeon, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings as Dick Whittington, Georgina Onuorah as Alice and Cleve September as Tom Cat. Beth Hinton-Lever, Travis Kerry, Jaye Marshall, Ken Nguyen, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda and Christopher Tendai also join the company.

Set and costume designs by Georgia Lowe, choreography by Dannielle ‘Rhimes’ Lecointe, compositions, arrangements and music production by DJ Walde, music supervision by Marc Tritschler and music direction and additional composition and arrangements by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell. Lighting designed by Jessica Hung Han Yun and Sound Design by Paul Arditti. Denzel Westley-Sanderson is Associate Director, Debbie Duru is Associate Set Designer, Fiona Parker is Associate Costume Designer and Assistant Choreographer is Jackie Kibuka.

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