CHILDREN were left in tears when a Christmas pantomime was cancelled yesterday (December 18) despite a huge crowd filling the auditorium.

Audience members at The Wycombe Swan theatre in High Wycombe were already in their seats waiting for Cinderella to begin when they were told the show was off due to 'technical difficulties'.

The production team said they "apologise for the disappointment caused by the unavoidable cancellation" of the 1.30pm performance.

Adding: "The pre-set began as planned, but we were informed of unforeseen technical difficulties about 10 minutes after the curtain was due up."

A family of six visited the Wycombe Swan for the 1.30pm show, spending £150 in total for tickets.

Phil Blackman, who lives in Taplow, Buckinghamshire, said: "After sitting in the theatre for 40 minutes, hundreds of disappointed children and their parents and grandparents were told over the tannoy that the performance would not take place due to a technical problem and instructed us to leave the theatre.

"No management was available. No apologies were given. Just hundred's of disappointed children, some in tears. Disgraceful and amateurish."

Mr Blackman said his two granddaughters aged four and 10 were "extremely disappointed."

He said: "My granddaughters had been looking forward to it for months and both were wearing seasonal dresses. They were both extremely disappointed as were we all. The total cost of the tickets were around £150.

"A disappointing way to start Christmas."

A spokesperson at the Wycombe Swan explained how they tried to rectify the situation by pausing the show to try and fix the equipment.

They said: "The decision was taken to pause the show to see whether the issues with the equipment could be resolved.  An announcement to this effect was made in the auditorium around 1.40pm.  Unfortunately, after trying to restart and reset the equipment it became clear that things could not immediately be fixed; and at 2pm a decision was taken to cancel to allow for technicians to visit the venue. 

"Again, an announcement was made to this effect.  I’m pleased to say that the technicians were able to visit the theatre on Sunday afternoon and the problems were resolved in time for the 5.30pm show on the same day. All future performances are scheduled to go ahead as planned."

Customers who bought tickets fo the 1.30pm show are in the process of being contacted.

Wycombe Swan added: "We are in the process of contacting all customers with bookings for the 1.30pm show to discuss options – which include rescheduling to an alternative performance or requesting a refund.  Again, we apologise for the disappointment caused by this unavoidable situation”