Peterborough's Key Theatre to stay closed for now - but panto is to go ahead

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Work is set to get under way at Peterborough’s temporarily closed Key Theatre on Monday – allowing it to reopen in time for this year’s panto.

The main auditorium has been closed since mid-September following the discovery of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) – in line with government health and safety guidance. A number of shows have had to be rescheduled or moved while structural engineers carried out their assessments.

That closure has now been extended beyond the initial October 15, with more shows affected, but there have been reassurances that the necessary work to the auditorium roof will be complete to allow the panto – Aladdin – to go ahead as planned.

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The theatre which celebrates its 50th anniversary next month – the first production on November 26, 1973 was a performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night – will reopen on December 2 for the opening of the panto run, through to December 31.

Key Theatre is expected to reopen in time for panto seasonKey Theatre is expected to reopen in time for panto season
Key Theatre is expected to reopen in time for panto season

A spokesperson for Landmark Theatres, which runs the city council-owned Key Theatre, said: “ With the support and expert advice of structural engineers, a safe solution will be installed over the coming weeks on the interior of the main auditorium.

Works will be carried out between 9th October through to mid-November which unfortunately affects the Key Theatre planned programme over this period. The majority of the programme has been rescheduled or moved to other spaces and all customers will be contacted in the coming days with further information.”

The Chalkboard tearoom and bistro remains open throughout, as well as other spaces including the studio theatre. Landmark Theatres will then continue to work with the council to agree a timeframe for full roof replacement that will be scheduled to minimise the impact on the programme and business.

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Paul Jepson, Landmark’s CEO and Creative Director, said: “We would like to thank everyone for their kind words of support during what has been a challenging month for the Key Theatre.”

Coun Steve Allen, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said: “We have got on with the job of finding a way for the theatre to re-open as quickly as possible and it is fantastic news that this should be in time for the first panto performance on 2 December, meaning thousands of children and families who have already booked tickets will not be let down.”

Meanwhile, a full structural survey is still being completed at the Regional Fitness and Swimming Centre, which has also been closed because of RAAC being identified in the building.

For further information about panto tickets go to