How to book Santa's doorstep visits with the Astor Theatre in Deal
Personal doorstep visits from Santa are being organised for children in one East Kent town thanks to the work of a theatre.
With restrictions around gatherings and social distancing making magical grottos difficult to open during the pandemic, The Astor Theatre has pulled some strings to bring Father Christmas to people's homes.
Artistic director James Tillitt said: "Santa Claus is coming to Deal, to scope things out ahead of his Big Night on December 24.
"Of course, he won’t be able to see every boy and girl during his early December recce; but he does want everyone in Deal to know that, although it may look a little different this year, Christmas is still going to be fabulous. So he's making himself available for personalised doorstep visits to bring some festive cheer to the children of our town."
The visits cost £7 for one child and £10 for two and proceeds will help the theatre's funding streams by bringing in extra cash in what has been its hardest year.
The visits will also promote the theatre's pantomime, Santa Saves Christmas, which is still planned to take place from December 19 pending government advice on how post-lockdown events should be managed.
Mr Tillitt added: "For those who'd prefer virtual visits, they can book a personalised Zoom call with Santa; straight from his workshop in Lapland."
As one of the hardest hit industries, theatres were told to close before the first lockdown was announced, denoting financial hardship from the very beginning of the pandemic. Extraordinary support has been pledged to the Stanhope Road venue from locals and regular users. In total some £45,000 has come in which is being use to pay overheads.
The theatre has also been able to furlough staff it was planning to make redundant because the job retention scheme was reintroduced when the second lockdown was announced.
Santa's personal doorstep visits begin on December 3.
Tickets £7 for one child, £10 for two children,£15 for three or more children and can be booked here.
Zoom calls for shielding children can be booked here and cost £5 per child. https://theastor.co.uk/shows/children/santa-s-personal-zoom-call