The government’s roadmap announcement this week has given hope to the arts sector which has been one of the hardest-hit by the pandemic.

And The Elgiva Theatre, in Chesham, has announced it is moving its family pantomime to Christmas 2021.

Theatre manager David Cooper said while the theatre will stay closed until May 17, staff will be “working hard behind the scenes” to “reopen with a bang”.

He added: “Our pantomime plans have come full circle; we originally moved our Christmas 2020 production to February half-term, and then to Easter, so we really feel like we have been on a journey with this panto.

READ MORE: What do you think? Here are the top five Indian restaurants in Bucks

“It is a testament to The Elgiva how many customers have held their bookings throughout, and we are so grateful for their support and that of our community.

“Panto 2021 will be a treat for the whole family, packed with songs, jokes, magic and sparkle.

“We can’t wait to share it with everyone. In the meantime, we are planning for a safe reopening and summer and autumn schedules with a wide variety of great entertainment and community-focused events.”

The theatre, which is owned and operated by Chesham Town Council, is producing its pantomime with New Pantomime Productions.

Mr Cooper said Christmas 2020’s panto proved extremely popular, with more than 75 per cent of the socially-distanced capacity booked before the run even started.

He said The Elgiva “hopes for even more success in Christmas 2021”.

He added: “Christmas isn’t Christmas without a panto. We hope that our wonderful show will be something for everybody to look forward to, and that we can celebrate Christmas properly this year, in line with appropriate guidance at the time.

“We are proud to continue our ethos of Elgiva for Everyone.

READ MORE: Driver is recorded doing 70mph on a 30mph road as calls for a speed camera get louder

“The management is working hard to finalise the schedules of all affected shows and will be in touch with customers as soon as possible.

The show must go on.”

According to the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, indoor hospitality venues such as cinemas and theatres will be allowed to reopen no earlier than May 17.

The roadmap outlines four steps for easing restrictions – the vaccine programme’s success, evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths, infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations and risk assessments are not fundamentally changed by any new variants.

Before proceeding to the next step, the government will look at data to assess the impact of previous steps.

There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step - four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions and seven days notice for the restrictions to be eased.