Edinburgh King's panto gets new producer as Qdos Pantomimes is acquired by global entertainment company Crossroads Live

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Their productions of Aladdin, Cinderella and Snow White have brought tears of laughter to generations of local theatre-goers but now, it could be said, Qdos Pantomimes day are ‘behind them’.

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The company charged with bringing The King's seasonal extravaganza to the stage of the Old Lady of Leven Street has been acquired by global theatre and live entertainment company Crossroads Live. Oh yes it has!The biggest panto production company in the world, Qdos was due to produce 32 pantomimes across the UK this year, all of which will now be realised by a new company, Crossroads Pantomimes, led by Crossroads Theatrical Group Chairman​,​ David Ian​,​ and former Qdos Pantomimes​'​ Managing Director​,​ Michael Harrison​,​ as Chief Executive.

Allan Stewart, Grant Stott and Jordan YoungAllan Stewart, Grant Stott and Jordan Young
Allan Stewart, Grant Stott and Jordan Young

Since 1982, Qdos has produced more than 750 pantomimes​, their ​focus on regional theatres ​making​ the Qdos pantomime season the highlight of the theatrical year for audiences at major​ ​theatres​ across the UK​, including The King's​,​ where they first took the reins in 1999 with a production of Cinderella, starring Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Dorothy Paul.New Chief Executive Michael Harrison, who studied at Edinburgh Queen Margaret College before going on to form Michael Harrison Entertainment, says, "The creation of Crossroads Pantomimes marks an exciting next step in the evolution of pantomime, joining our unique experience as leading pantomime producers with the skill, resource and investment of Crossroads Live. ​Our operation will remain firmly rooted in the UK and will build on the long tradition of pantomime, but continue to push the genre forward, as we’ve done over the past two decades.”

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David Ian adds, "I am absolutely thrilled to be working again with Michael. Crossroads Pantomimes is a natural development of our long-time producing relationship and the passion we both share for creating world class entertainment. We look forward to creating something very special for the UK Theatre industry whilst staying true to the great tradition of British pantomime.”

The acquisition will see Qdos founder and Chairman Nick Thomas MBE stepping down from the pantomime business altogether.

David Ian (right) and Michael Harrison (left).David Ian (right) and Michael Harrison (left).
David Ian (right) and Michael Harrison (left).

He says, "After our 39th pantomime season in 2019/20, Sandra and I decided it was time to find a new owner for Qdos Pantomimes. After discussions with Crossroads Live, we are delighted that David and Michael will be taking the business forward. Our Qdos Entertainment Group will be embarking on new adventures, and we will spend our first ‘non-pantomime’ Christmas somewhere in the sunshine.”

Pantomime is ​scheduled ​to return to The King's this November with Sleeping Beauty programmed to run from Saturday, November 27, 2021, to Sunday, January 16, 2022, after the pandemic forced its postponement from 2020. It is expected that resident Dame Allan Stewart, baddie Grant Stott with comic Jordan Young will return following the sad loss of Andy Gray, who passed away earlier this year. Crossroads Live is a global leader in the production of touring musical theatre with principal offices in London, Los Angeles and Sydney. On Broadway, its hit shows include Mrs. Doubtfire, Company, Almost Famous and the smash hit musical Book of Mormon.

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