There’s a pharaoh chill in the theatre - but panto bosses vow the show will go on

Chorley Little Theatre 2016 Panto Cleopatra. From left, Cleo (Rachel Offord) and Dame (Andy Burke)
Chorley Little Theatre 2016 Panto Cleopatra. From left, Cleo (Rachel Offord) and Dame (Andy Burke)

This year’s panto at Chorley Little Theatre is unlikely to have ‘em roasting in the Niles.

In fact, those flocking to see Cleopatra will definitely need some Anti-ny freeze.

For the Dole Lane theatre’s heating system has broken down, leaving folk in cold comfort. But panto bosses have vowed the show will go on and that audiences will warm to the 11 performances which start on December 9.

Ian Robinson, chairman of Chorley Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society, which runs the Little Theatre, explained: “The heating went off about two weeks ago and we couldn’t get it to come back on.

“When we did there was a leak and the bar area was filled with water.

“We managed to get a plumber to come and have a look at it and the boiler was fine, but the pipes that have been here for about a hundred years were corroding.

“So we did a quick fix before the Jon Richardson show, but as the doors opened it burst.

“The show went on, we turned the pipes off and cordoned off the area.

“The show went brilliantly. We’ve got some heaters going on in the auditorium – it was chilly but not too bad. With it being a full house there was lots of body warmth, so it wasn’t so bad really.”

Lancaster-born comedian Jon Richardson, who stars in TV’s 8 Out of 10 Cats and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, made one or two quips about the heating with the audience.

Ian added: “He said, come in, sit yourself down, the heating’s broken. He was just having a laugh, he really enjoyed the show. He performed in a T-shirt, so it wasn’t so bad.”

As regards solving the heating problem, Ian said: “We got a specialist in last week. They don’t do iron piping much any more so we’re looking for a quick fix of a specialist part for the leaked area. That’s going to cost thousands as it is.

“The bigger concern is there may be more around the building like that.

“In future we’re looking to replace the system. It’s coming out of our savings.

“We’re saving to get new seating next year. We might have to put it back, which would be a shame.”

The theatre does not receive any outside funding and makes its money from its shows.

“If anyone can give us any specialist help, or financial help, that would be great,” said Ian.

“The shows will go on, we’re trying to get it fixed as quick as we can. We don’t want to disappoint any more people.

“The panto will definitely be going ahead.

“It starts on Friday, December 9 for eleven performances. That’s the next thing.

“We all should be working round the clock on that, 
but this has been a bit of a distraction eating into the volunteers’ time.”

If you think you can help with the theatre’s heating problems, either ring Ian on 07984 794163, or email chorleytheatre@gmail.com