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St Helens Theatre Royal Extend Their Filmed Christmas Pantomime Online Until End Of January 2021
...Photos by David Munn...

THE St Helens Theatre Royal have announced they will extend the online version of their 5 star socially distanced production of Beauty and the Beast until the end of January and is available to purchase and watch now. Beauty and the Beast recently ran for the festive period, from Friday, 11 December 2020, and was due to finish, on Sunday, 3 January 2021, unfortunately due to a change in Tiers by the Government, the show was forced to closed, on Wednesday, 30 December 2021. Audiences who missed the show at Christmas had the option to enjoy the critically acclaimed production from the comfort of their own homes, a link to purchase tickets was available until 10 January 2021, this was a specially filmed version of the Christmas Eve performance. Now the Theatre has extended the online run to allow parents to treat their family throughout the month of January to beat those lockdown and January blues. St Helens Theatre Royal were one of a few venues across the UK who opened their doors for a Christmas pantomime after being closed for 9 months, due to the current Covid Pandemic. The highly anticipated show proved to be a popular choice during the festive season and was praised by audience members and critics alike.

Theatre Royal manager Chantelle Nolan commented:- "We are thrilled to be able to extend the online version of our popular Christmas production until the end of the month, January is normally such a dead month and even more so due to the strict lockdown restrictions and being told to stay at home. To watch Theatre online from the comfort of your own home could be a lovely treat to children, giving them something to look forward to after doing their schoolwork or at a weekend and it also supports the Theatre through the lockdown period. We are proud to say that during our 36 show Christmas run, we didn't have a single positive case and no cases reported to us via the public or track and trace. Our staff and full company were tested on a regular basis and we were delighted to receive constant feedback from customers saying how safe they felt in the Theatre. We are really looking forward to bringing back audiences into the Theatre for live performance and our Easter Pantomime, Goldilocks and the 3 Bears which is now on sale."

The full cast of Beauty and the Beast is:- Jamie Greer as Potty Polly; Abigail Middleton as Madame Botox; Scott Gallagher as French Frank; Olivia Sloyan as Belle; Andrew Geater as The Beast; Tim Lucas as Gaston; and Jenna Sian O'Hara as Fairy Rose. The show is Directed by:- Chantelle Nolan, Written by:- Liam Mellor, with Choreography by:- Nazene Langfield, and Callum Clarke is Musical Supervisor.

Get ready to go on a family adventure with the fabulous family friendly pantomime, Beauty and the Beast. This is the timeless story of Belle, a beautiful young woman who falls in love with the most unexpected of princes, who has been cursed to look like a hideous beast. Will the Beast learn to love and be loved? Will the spell be broken in time for all to live happily ever after? For more information, please visit:- StHelensTheatreRoyal.Com.

Hospitality businesses in the UK need "a clear road map" to help them emerge successfully from the Covid19 Pandemic says MP Damien Moore

THE Southport Conservative MP is also calling for VAT support to be extended and for the creation of a new hospitality and tourism recovery fund for the sector which he says has been:- "hardest hit" by the Coronavirus crisis. The MP also said the short notice that pubs, cafes, hotels, restaurants, leisure facilities and attractions have been given before being put into and being removed from lockdowns, without sufficient time to prepare for either, was:- "quite wrong." Southport has a thriving hospitality sector, boosted in part by the 9.1million visitors who enjoyed what the resort has to offer in 2019, the year before the Covid Pandemic.

Mr Moore spoke on the sector's behalf in a speech on Hospitality Industry: Government Support, in Westminster Hall, on Monday. 11 January 2021. He said:- "We need a clear road map. We want to work in collaboration with the hospitality industry. The short notice that we have been giving some of these businesses has been quite wrong. We must not say it on a Thursday if the pubs have to close on the Saturday; and then throw all the beer away. Similarly, we must not ask them to open on a Thursday when they have no beer brewed. We need to work with them, staging the points at which they will open those businesses. We want to ensure that people feel satisfied. In nearly every survey that has come back, people were satisfied with the Covid security in these businesses. We need to extend the VAT support. We need to look at business rates, of course. Beer duty is something that keeps coming up and it is important. A hospitality and tourism recovery fund would help. Giving the industry a voice and a seat at the table with the decision makers is absolutely vital; it is critical."

Damien Moore highlighted the importance of local hospitality venues to the community. He said:- "Of all the different sectors that have been coping with this Pandemic, the hardest hit has probably been the hospitality sector. Pubs are not just a business; ‘the local' is a centre of the community. It helps people. It helps their wellbeing. It quite often helps them to feel more connected to the outside world. My resort constituency of Southport is a centre of hospitality, and has been for over 150 years. A 3rd of all my businesses in the constituency are based around hospitality, supporting jobs. There are not only the businesses that are static in my constituency; we also have various annual shows. Southport Flower Show is the largest independent flower show in the country. We have the:- Southport Air Show, the British Musical Fireworks Championship, Southport Comedy Festival, Southport Food and Drink Festival, and in 2017 we attracted 235,000 visitors when Royal Birkdale hosted the Open Golf championship. This is a booming industry in my constituency in normal times. In 2015 it accounted for 24% of my local economy, and by 2020 the figure was 30%; a situation that I want to see continue. I want to see the industry not only survive the Pandemic, but thrive in future. We are very grateful for all the support that the Government has provided. Many Members will go through the menu of things; no pun intended; such as Eat Out To Help Out, furlough, business loans and so on. We all know that they have been an absolute lifeline and we are very grateful; my local businesses are very grateful for them. Looking to the future, we have things such as the Town Deal that we have put in a bid for. If we get our Town Deal, we will then get the private finance that will help us to get a brand new Theatre and convention centre, helping all those businesses that are reliant on the 1 that we have at the moment, which is closed. Let us ensure that we support our hospitality sector."

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