The MK company behind the Peter Pan panto at the city’s Chrysalis Theater has apologized to audience members and actors who were left out.
1702 Productions ceased operations this month and is in the process of delisting the company due to insolvency.
The company, established in April last year, launched Peter Pan in December amidst a publicity fire.
However, many performances were canceled at the last minute, claiming it was due to Covid-19. People who had purchased tickets were promised refunds at the time.
The Chrysalis Theater in Willen Park is part of the Camphill Milton Keynes community, which provides sheltered accommodation and work for adults with learning disabilities. They rented the venue from 1702 Productions and say we owe them money as well.
A spokesperson for the theater said: “We are very disappointed and sorry to hear that customers who purchased tickets for Peter Pan Pantomime have not received refunds from 1702 Productions as previously reported.
“We have received information that 1702 Productions has ceased operations and is in the process of deregistering the company pursuant to Section 652 of the Companies Act due to insolvency.”
The spokesperson added: “The Chrysalis Theater was purely the venue for the performance, and we received no money from ticket sales. Like you, we also have outstanding payments for the rental of our 1702 theatre. Productions and have taken all reasonable steps to recover this….We sincerely apologize for the disappointment and inconvenience experienced by panto enthusiasts.”
One of the directors of 1702 Productions was Steven Gordon-Wilson, who was the producer of Peter Pan.
He promoted the panto last November, saying, “We wanted to bring our show to the Chrysalis Theater because we know how important the Camphill community is and we really wanted to be able to make a difference locally with the production.
“Theatre is a truly hidden treasure in MK, and I hope our production can help raise its profile and bring more support to this wonderful charity.”
Mr. Gordon-Wilson is a former Managing Director of Destination MK and has also worked at MK Theatre. He is the presenter of a Sunday show with Northampton’s Revolution radio, hosting music and guests from the theater and performing arts scene.
He told the Citizen this week that he quit 1702 Productions two months before the panto began – but continued to run and promote the show.
He said: “I resigned as director of the company on October 1 to pursue other interests. I continued on a voluntary and unpaid basis to run the show. In fact, I lost the money I had invested. The theater’s statement is correct, although I know the company is working hard to compensate as best they can.”
Companies House documents showed that the other director, actor Connagh-Joseph De Mooi, also quit as director on October 1. But he was reinstated on January 26 this year.
Mr Gordon-Wilson said: “CJ de Mooi has been appointed director of the company and is working hard to try to ensure that as many people as possible are compensated. The company has been able to refund half of all tickets up to ‘now and to pay some Unfortunately, financial pressures mean the company has become insolvent, so some ticket holders, vendors and cast will not receive full payment.
The Citizen has received an emailed statement from 1702 Productions, written by an anonymous spokesperson, which states: “Everyone involved in the production of Peter Pan is heartbroken that the venture has failed. We are deeply sorry for everyone who has been affected.
“The show was closed as the increased incidences of Covid-19 meant we could no longer run the show safely. The safety of our team and audience was paramount.
“Since then we have worked hard to raise funds and have been able to refund a large percentage of pre-booked tickets and pay some outstanding bills. Unfortunately the financial pressures became too much and the company became insolvent, which means that some ticket holders, vendors and actors will not receive full payment.
“We’re incredibly sorry for those we failed. We’ve done our best and we’re out of options.”