THE production company behind the last show at William Aston Hall in Wrexham has spoken about being the last to put on a show there.

Cattle Productions were the last company to perform at the William Aston Hall before UK theatres closed for lockdown in March 2020.

The team put on their adult pantomime of Peter Pan on March 14 – just a week before the first national COVID lockdown.

Company director Dan Lewis, said: “Even this performance had reduced attendees, with about a fifth of the audience choosing not to attend despite paying in advance for their tickets. Our Peter Pan tour was actually cut short due to the pandemic, although we were lucky enough to have the DVD filmed at the William Aston Hall.”

“Prior to this performance in 2019, we also performed our Snow White adult pantomime, which had around 400 people in the audience and raised nearly £600 for the Wales Air Ambulance.

“Cattle Productions has enjoyed a good working relationship with both the university and VMS Live."

The Leader previously reported that a Wrexham Glyndwr spokesman confirmed how VMS Live went in liquidation this month - meaning all upcoming shows were cancelled.

Dan added: “We're not surprised that the company has gone into liquidation due to recent times. We obviously aren't aware of any specific financial troubles, other than the obvious one of COVID-related survival.

“It isn't the first we have links with that has failed to ride the waves and we're sure it won't be the last. We ourselves have lost money due to the permanent closure of some theatres.

“It takes a lot of finance to be involved within the events and entertainment sector and the funding just isn't there to help every business through. We appreciate the Government grants that have been issued but it isn't enough, although that isn't anybody's fault, as nobody foresaw any of this.”

Dan told the Leader that things won’t get better until venues can safely re-open at full capacity in order for a production to be viable.

He said: “Even if a venue charged 50 per cent of the hire cost to mirror the authorised capacity, the same reduction in rates would need to be met for our vehicle rental, accommodation costs, advertising, insurance premiums, props, costumes and all of our other associated expenses, which obviously does not happen.

“And of course, if we aren't performing at all then we receive no income whatsoever - that's just the rules of the game. This means that the business can't pay its bills, our actors and stage crew don't earn a living and our nominated charities do not benefit.

“From the point of view of VMS Live, if they have a lease agreement to fulfil, they cannot pay their bills without shows being performed, which ultimately resonates the fact that the entertainment sector reflects a graveyard during this worldwide pandemic.”

Cattle Productions had to cancel around 50 shows spanning over the last year and a half - but Dan vows they will continue to carry on and are determined to come out the other side.

He said: “The people of Wrexham have watched our company grow from our first show in 2017 and we have managed to build up a large fan base across England, Scotland and Wales.

“We hope our next production of Dick Whittington will go ahead, which is due to hit the stage in February 2022. Whereas the liquidation of VMS Live doesn't directly affect us, we do have a date scheduled in for the William Aston Hall and we hope that it can go ahead, whether under VMS Live, the university or a new operating company.

“After all, the show must go on as they say, and the world needs laughter, especially at the moment.”