Latest news / 5 November, 2020


Bristol Hippodrome and pantomime producers Qdos Entertainment have today announced that a socially-distanced pantomime will be staged at the venue, with an all-new production of Robin Hood, thanks to support from The National Lottery.

Starring the Strictly judge the nation loves to hate, the fab-u-lous Craig Revel Horwood as The Sheriff of Nottingham, alongside hilarious funny man Matt Slack, the legendary pairing of Richard Cadell & Sooty, Robin Hood will play from Friday 18 December for a Strictly limited 3 week run.

The production is able to go ahead thanks to the support of The National Lottery, which will give thousands of theatregoers, in Bristol and across the country, the chance to enjoy socially distanced pantomime this Christmas. The show is being staged as a result of an initiative between The National Lottery and Qdos Entertainment which is providing financial support for theatres to stage socially distanced, live pantomimes this festive season. This will make it viable for venues, including the Hippodrome, to open their doors to the general public, generating vital income for the theatre and helping to restore jobs while providing much-needed cheer for pantomime lovers.

Fresh from the ballroom, Craig Revel Horwood will star as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham and show Bristol his real mettle as he tries to outwit Robin Hood and win the hand of the beautiful Maid Marion. Craig is a well-known face on television in the UK and now all over the world, as a judge on all 18 series of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing. In 2013, Craig wrote and directed a brand-new show, Strictly Confidential that toured the UK starring familiar faces from Strictly Come Dancing. He has directed and choreographed the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour, as well as appearing as a judge.

He recently returned to his roots as a performer in musical theatre, starring as Miss Hannigan in the West End and UK touring production of Annie. Craig also choreographed and directed the UK tour of Sister Act and the Dusty Springfield musical, Son of a Preacher Man. Craig has also published three autobiographies; All Balls and Glitter, Tales from the Dance Floor and In Strictest Confidence. This autumn he released his first novel, Dances and Dreams on Diamond Street. Robin Hood marks Craig’s 12th consecutive pantomime for producers Qdos Entertainment having starred as a Wicked Queen, a Wicked Stepmother and Captain Hook in Snow White, Cinderella and Peter Pan respectively.

He will be joined by much-loved funny man, Matt Slack as Robin Hood. His television credits include Casualty, Doctors and EastEnders for the BBC, ITV’s Law and Order and the feature film The Rise of the Krays. On stage he has appeared in Boogie Nights and Hot Flush on their UK tours, and in Blood Brothers in London’s West End. Matt has entertained and delighted audiences in Birmingham Hippodrome’s pantomime each festive season since 2013, roles which have won him, amongst others, the Best Comic accolade at the Great British Pantomime Awards.

Craig and Matt will be joined by television icons Richard Cadell as Will Scarlet, with his mischievous sidekick, Sooty. A star of television, stage, comics, animation and movies, Sooty made his screen debut almost 70 years ago and in that time has delighted audiences of millions worldwide with his cheeky
sense of humour, jaw-dropping magic tricks and hilarious mishaps, despite not ageing whatsoever. First supported by his original owner and friend Harry
Corbett (and later his son Matthew) Sooty became a regular on the BBC’s Saturday Special, and fronted his own programmes The Sooty Show and Sooty & Co. Richard has presented Sooty on stage and television for over 20 years following Matthew’s retirement, with their programmes remaining ITVs most popular children’s show.

Joining them will be hilarious pantomime dame Andrew Ryan and west end musical leading ladies Landi Oshinowo and Nicola Meehan.

This new production will be packed full of comedy routines, audience-safe participation and all the unmissable magic that Bristol Hippodrome audiences have come to expect from their annual festive pantomime. The previously advertised production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be staged in 2021 and existing bookers have already been contacted with details of their new tickets.

The support of The National Lottery will ensure that socially distanced panto can take place this year at Bristol Hippodrome, and other theatres across the UK. Up to 20,000 free tickets to pantomimes across the country, including in Bristol, will be made available to National Lottery players to thank them for making it possible for this Christmas tradition to go ahead. National Lottery players raise on average £30M each week for Good Causes. This year has seen up to £600M in National Lottery funding being used by charities and organisations affected by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak across the arts, community and charity, heritage, education, environment and sport sectors.