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The National Lottery To Host Special One-off Performance Of Pantoland At The London Palladium To Celebrate Key Workers

The performance will take place on Friday 11 December.

The National Lottery has announced it will host a special one-off performance of this year's pantomime at The London Palladium for key workers and staff from frontline lottery-funded projects.

The National Lottery's Pantoland, produced by Qdos Entertainment, will take place on Friday 11 December and will see hundreds of seats gifted to key workers and their families in recognition of their vital work this year supporting communities, specifically the most vulnerable, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attendees to the red carpet event will be drawn from a wide range of professions - including NHS frontline staff, the Metropolitan Police Service, London Ambulance Service, the military, teachers, refuse collectors, delivery drivers, retail workers, staff from frontline lottery-funded community projects and a range of charities.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

"I'm delighted to see some pantos can get going and I'm pleased we've been able to work with The National Lottery to help put on this special performance for key workers.

"I hope it will bring some much-needed festive cheer to those who have gone above and beyond for others this year, alongside the other pantos taking place in theatres around the country offering a bit of light at the end of a tough year."

Nigel Railton, Chief Executive of National Lottery operator Camelot, said:

"The National Lottery is delighted to be able to work with The London Palladium and Qdos Entertainment to host this special performance to thank key workers in these extraordinary times. Whether it is those individuals playing a critical role in keeping us safe, staff ensuring our public services continue to run or the volunteers supporting the vulnerable, their contribution has been vital during this pandemic.

"In particular, I'd like to thank the 44,000 retailers we work with who have done an extraordinary job through the crisis, providing food, medicine and other essentials across the UK. Although selling National Lottery tickets isn't as important as these services, they have ensured that money for Good Causes has continued to flow, with over £800M having now been distributed to help charities and organisations tackle the impact of coronavirus."

Andrew Lloyd Webber said:

"This year we all need the magic and cheer of Christmas more than ever. However, one group of people deserve special recognition: the challenges of 2020 have been immeasurably lessened by the dedication and sheer brilliance of this country's key workers.

"This group of national heroes and their families have made countless sacrifices throughout 2020 and I am delighted that we are able to host this performance of Pantoland at The Palladium as a small token of our enormous thanks and admiration.

"I hope everyone coming to The London Palladium for this performance will walk away feeling more festive and jolly and, most importantly, extremely proud of the work they have done on all of our behalf this year."

Michael Harrison, Managing Director of Qdos Entertainment and Director and Creator of Pantoland at the Palladium, said: "We are delighted to have been able to offer this performance to key workers who have done so much for the country across a tremendously difficult year. We hope they have a thoroughly entertaining and laughter-filled afternoon at The London Palladium."

The National Lottery's Pantoland will star Julian Clary, Elaine Paige and feature Beverley Knight who makes her panto debut at The London Palladium, and the cast of Pantoland at the Palladium - Ashley Banjo & Diversity, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot, Charlie Stemp and Jac Yarrow - which opens to the public the following day, on 12 December. Produced by Qdos Entertainment, the world's biggest pantomime producer, Pantoland at The Palladium will have a strictly limited three-week run until 3 January 2021.

Celebrating the very best of pantomime, with comedy in abundance, this star-filled extravaganza will play to a socially-distanced audience and aims to bring some much-needed Christmas cheer to panto lovers this holiday season.

In line with the latest Government guidance, the capacity of The London Palladium will be reduced with social distancing across the venue and a wide suite of health and safety measures, including mandatory wearing of face coverings.

The special one-off performance is the first of several Qdos Entertainment pantomimes across the UK that are able to take place as a result of an initiative by The National Lottery announced back in October that is providing financial support to enable theatres to stage socially-distanced performances of pantomimes. The support helps fund seats that theatres are required to leave empty to comply with social distancing measures.

The money for this initiative comes from a National Lottery promotional fund. It is not being funded by money allocated for National Lottery Good Causes or by Camelot.

The National Lottery, which raises £30M each week, has enabled hundreds of millions of pounds to benefit projects at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £800M is currently being used by charities and organisations affected by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak across the arts, community and charity, heritage, education, environment and sport sectors. This includes up to £400M in funding support from the National Lottery Community Fund which is being used to help groups best placed to support people and communities through the crisis - from helping support food banks to causes that combat loneliness and isolation, support for the elderly and projects that aid health in the community.

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