Date: 10/01/2008 Category: Arts and Libraries
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs have packed their bags and left The Central Theatre, Chatham, for pastures new. All that remains is the sweet smell of success. The Christmas pantomime broke box office records, marking the end to an autumn season that included five sellouts and a number of firsts. Tickets sales for the pantomime, starring Sheila Ferguson of The Three Degrees and Boyzone's Shane Lynch, were up almost 15% on last year's record-breaking production of Peter Pan. This Christmas success was also matched at The Brook Theatre, where Charlotte's Web generated almost 12% more at the box office than last year. In October and November, sellout audiences of comedy fans flocked to The Central Theatre to see Frank Skinner and Jim Davidson. On top of this, 60s legends Joe Brown and The Stylistics also sold out the main auditorium. The theatre also proved to be a hit with the Children. They flocked in their hundreds to see the cheeky fox, Basil Brush. In November, the theatre hosted National Schools Film Week, in association with Medway's Arts Development Team and the charity Film Education. 3,000 Medway school children came to see free screenings including Amazing Grace and Charlotte's Web, with two sellout showings. Drama also took centre stage as audiences for The Central Theatre's drama offerings continued to build on the successes of recent seasons. A record 1600 people attended the autumn Act now! season, which included first-class productions of The Picture of Dorian Gray and Abigail's Party. "It is great seeing the people of Medway enjoying such a growing range of shows," says Tony Hill, Theatres General Manager. "We try to reflect the tastes of the area and to excite people all the time with new experiences. So to have so many sellout shows in recent seasons is a testament to the public's appetite for high quality arts and entertainment and to the hard work of everyone in the whole team." Evolution Productions, the team behind Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, will be back in April with a lavish musical production of Beauty and The Beast, before taking the stage again in December with a new pantomime. Blunderbus Theatre Company, producers of The Brook Theatre's Christmas show, return in March with Giraffe's Can't Dance and will be presenting another Christmas spectacular, from December 2008.