A PANTOMIME that has been at the heart of a community for over four decades could be facing its final curtain after the script was deemed “culturally insensitive”.

Madcap Productions was due to put on Aladdin at the Old Brewery Hall, Ansty, near Dorchester, early next month but the director of the panto announced on social media that the performance had been pulled after ‘expressions of unease about cultural sensitivity.'

Organisers said altering the script to avoid offence was 'not in keeping with the tradition of pantomime'.

The pantomime was scheduled for three performances across December 9 and December 10 with Jenny Norman, director of the production, initially saying the cast was ‘rehearsing furiously’.

It is reported that the performances were set to raise money for local charities including Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

Announcing the show on social media, Ms Norman said: “We are rehearsing furiously and so looking forward to giving you live action and lots of fun after two years of Zooming pantomimes to you.

“The pantomime has been a feature of our Christmases in the local area for 41 years. Let’s get behind it again after Covid and celebrate the live performances and talented people who are giving their all.”

Just three weeks after the announcement, however, Ms Norman said it was ‘with regret’ that the production had to be cancelled ‘following expressions of unease about cultural insensitivity.’

The Echo attempted to contact Ms Norman for clarification on the concerns raised however she said she ‘did not want to talk’ and that it would ‘not be appropriate’ to go into specifics.

In a statement posted online, Ms Norman said: “It is with regret that Madcap has found it necessary to cancel this year’s production of Aladdin following expressions of unease about  cultural insensitivity that were made to the cast.

“Consideration was given to ‘sanitising’ the script but the cast considered this was not in keeping with the tradition of pantomime and in order to prevent causing offence to anyone the decision was made to cancel.”

The announcement prompted a largely furious reaction from locals expressing dismay at the cancellation. 

One said, in response to the statement,  “This is beyond ridiculous. Cultural insensitivity? It is a pantomime which is a British tradition at Christmas. This is becoming ridiculous that we can be dictated to by others.”

The Old Brewery Hall was contacted for comment.