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Amanda Holden (The Fairy Godmother) in Cinderella. Photographs by Paul Coltas & Steve Williams

Amanda Holden (The Fairy Godmother) in Cinderella. Photographs by Paul Coltas & Steve Williams

UK Theatre reveals nation’s favourite pantomime 2016

Robin Johnson

By Robin Johnson Published 23 November 2017

With panto season now hitting its stride (“oh, yes it is!”), new figures from UK Theatre have revealed that pantomime was more popular than ever in theatres nationwide last year, with productions of Cinderella selling the most tickets of any tale.

With festive family-friendly theatre the toast of the country, £60.2 million worth of box office revenues for pantomime were recorded in 2016, a new high for an individual year. This amounted to a total of 2.9 million audience members in attendance – a number which would certainly make an almighty “He’s behind you!” noise in unison.

The figures also revealed that pantomime has overtaken comedy as the genre that fills the most seats in UK theatres; 75% of the available tickets for productions across the country were sold, another record.

In 2016, the most popular pantomimes across the country in terms of attendance figures were:

  1. 1. Cinderella (652,748 tickets sold)
  2. 2. Dick Whittington (466,597 tickets sold)
  3. 3. Jack And The Beanstalk (392,256 tickets sold)
  4. 4. Aladdin (389,256 tickets sold)
  5. 5. Beauty And The Beast (339,400 tickets sold)
  6. 6. Snow White (314,591 tickets sold)
  7. 7. Peter Pan (206,868 tickets sold)
  8. 8. Other (170,911 tickets sold)

Cinderella’s popularity coincides with its staging at the London Palladium in 2016, the first panto there for almost four decades. Hot on the heels of its success, renowned panto producers Qdos Entertainment will be bringing the second-placed story of Dick Whittington to the iconic venue this December.

Cinderella fans in the capital will still be able to go to the ball, however, as London audiences can enjoy a unique twist on the classic rags-to-riches tale at the Hackney Empire this Christmas.

Meanwhile, panto fans can look forward to a telling of Jack And The Beanstalk which scales new heights, as the story receives the full Lyric Hammersmith treatment – make sure you don’t miss our first look at the show here.


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