THIS year’s Christmas panto has been announced as the most successful ever festive production at the Towngate Theatre.

Over 25,000 people and more than 30 schools attended the month long shows of Peter Pan before it closed on Sunday. This is more than 4,000 extra people than in previous years.

It has also been revealed that the income from ticket sales is up 18 per cent on last year’s performance of Dick Whittington.

Councillor Kevin Blake, cabinet member for leisure and arts said: “Over the past few years the theatre has been working to create a really quality pantomime, and has seen a year on year improvement in sales.

“I have made no secret of the fact that the pantomime is vital to the success of the theatre, accounting for nearly a third of its income, but more importantly than that, it also introduces children to live theatre, many of whom for the first time.

“We hope over the coming months their visit will encourage them to come and see other shows and get involved in projects at the theatre.”

The show, featuring Simon Fielding as Peter Pan and Bryan Torfeh as Captain Hook, was proving to be popular before it even began with a 40 per cent increase in ticket sales from 2011.

It also received glowing reviews a week into the show in two well respected industry magazines. The Stage, and What’s on Stage, both gave the show four stars.

Last year’s performance of Dick Whittington also recieved lavish praise, with critics saying it wouldn’t look out of place on Broadway.

The Peter Pan production was chosen by the audiences at last year’s pantomime and this year it was decided that either Snow White, Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel will be next year’s performance.

An announcement on next years show is set to be made next week when it will go on sale.

For more information on all forthcoming shows, visit the theatre website at