Falkirk panto Cinderella lost money – oh yes it did!

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Falkirk’s first professional pantomime made a loss of £20,000 for Falkirk Community Trust last year.

But the Trust’s general manager Neil Brown told councillors they had always known the first year would make a loss as the show “was always seen as a growth project”.

“These things don’t happen overnight,” he told members of Falkirk Council’s scrutiny committee, which oversees how the local authority’s money is spent by other organisations.

Last year’s pantomime, starring River City actress Sally Howitt and local singing star Barbara Bryceland, was a hit with audiences and the Trust is confident that word has spread about how good the show was.

There had been controversy introducing it as the traditional local youth theatre pantomime was ditched in favour of bringing in professionals.

But Imagine Theatre’s production of Cinderella, complete with flying carriage,  had several sold-out shows and positive reviews from audiences.

“We were delighted with the reception from the local community. It was a great show!” said Mr Brown.

Councillor David Grant asked if they were publicising the pantomime to schools as his granddaughter’s school had gone to Dunfermline last year to see their pantomime.

Mr Brown agreed that was disappointing but it could well have been because many performances were full.

He was hopeful that more schools would attend this year as they had added more performances on to the run and there was more access for schools this year.

“We also know that many people want to book up early and will pay a premium to get the best seats for the best nights.

“We’ve taken the £20,000 on the chin but it will grow hereafter.”

This year’s pantomime, Aladdin, also presented by Imagine Theatre, runs at Falkirk Town Hall from December 6 until Christmas Eve.

The cast features television star Libby McArthur as the Empress, while local singer Barbara Bryceland returns to the stage as the Spirit of the Ring.

To book tickets call 01324 506850 or visit www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org.